Jefferson came to SASHA Farm in December 2003, already a national celebrity. Raised on a farm not far from the sanctuary in Manchester, Michigan, Jefferson was sold by the pound at a local livestock auction and eventually found himself being loaded onto a truck destined for a slaughterhouse in Detroit. Like millions of other animals every year raised as food, his short life was about to come to a terrible, brutal end. But Jefferson did something that touched the hearts of thousands of people: He ran. Instead of marching solemnly to his death, he broke free. His courageous escape and subsequent flight down busy Jefferson Avenue captured the attention of the media and the public, and though he was captured, he brought much needed attention to the plight of his bovine brethren.
Through tense negotiations and much public outcry, instead of being slaughtered, the slaughterhouse allowed Jefferson to come live at SASHA Farm. He now lives with a herd of seven other cows and spends his days happily wandering around his hilly wooded pasture, foraging for tasty foliage or lying in the shade with his bovine family. He's grown quite a bit since his arrival at the sanctuary, but remains a gentle, quiet soul.
A gentlemen whose family owns a farm was raising several little Holstein boys for slaughter, and during the process, he’d come to realize that the boys’ lives had value beyond the relatively small monetary value of their flesh and hide. He asked if the boys could come and live out their lives here at SASHA Farm, and we gladly welcomed them to the cow herd. Kirk, Krishna and Karuna are all sweet, playful boys, and we're very much enjoying watching them grow up in the safety of the SASHA Farm cow pasture.
Shortly after Jefferson's story made the news, we received a call from someone who was desperately looking to place a longhorn steer he could no longer afford to keep. Monte and Dorothy arrived at the farm to find that Digger was being severely neglected.
Since his arrival at SASHA Farm, he has become a favorite among visitors and volunteers. His huge horns give him authority within the cow herd, so he's always first in line for treats. Luckily for us, he's among the friendliest and most playful steers in the pasture!
Helen is a lucky little cow. Born on a dairy farm, she was destined to live the life of a milk cow. Most calves stand and nurse within an hour or so of birth, but Helen didn't. It was clear there was something wrong with her, and most farms would probably have euthanized her immediately. Lucky for Helen, there was a compassionate and determined person working there, and she spent three weeks teaching Helen how to stand. Even then, she moved clumsily, fell down often and had tremors. A vet diagnosed her with cerebellar hypoplasia, an underdevelopment of certain areas of the brain frequently seen in cats. The condition is permanent, and it meant that Helen could not be a dairy cow. She would not be safe around the equipment and she couldn't sustain a pregnancy. Again, she faced the prospect of euthanasia. The same person who saved her once now set about looking for someplace that would take a cow who would always have special medical needs and let her life out her natural life. She found SASHA Farm.
Bound for slaughter in Casselton, ND, Fargo got loose and spent a good 4 hours wandering the local neighborhood. He made an appearance in a number of suburban back yards. The story made local news and even a news station in Chicago. A man in Chicago who is a big animal lover knew he had to help this steer. He felt that surely a steer who got loose was destined to have his freedom. The Chicago man called the farmer and asked him to spare the steer if he could find a home for him. The farmer agreed. The Chicago man called us and we knew we had to help this steer. The Chicago man and his sister, also an animal lover gave a very generous contribution to help us get Fargo. Making a 14 hour trip from Michigan to North Dakota, co-founder Monte Jackson picked up the steer and brought him home to us.