Retiring to the countryside, green hills and pastures to stroll in on a Sunday afternoon, lungs filled with fresh air... many of us humans would love this dream to be a reality! But animals rarely get a chance to enjoy the latter stages of their lives in this way - particularly traditional farm animals, whose final moments are often precisely pre-determined. Thankfully there are a large number of organisations up and down the UK that can step in an offer the crucial place of refuge just when it is needed most.
Sanctuaries across the UK provide homes to thousands of animals, who are fortunate enough to live their final days, months or years in peace. After a life of exploitation, nelgect or cruelty, sanctuaries offer animals of all stripes a place where they are treated with the love and respect we should all enjoy. If you're looking for a good cause to support, we've made a list of the top 10 UK animal sanctuaries – as voted for by older vegans and vegetarians.
This sanctuary, based at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex, has the mission to provide care and a forever home to animals in need. Founded in 1993, Tower Hill Stables now provides a safe haven for over 450 animals – pigs, cows, swans, horses and more. There are several ways to help on theri website, including direct donation and sponsoring an animal.
Snowball, a rescue cow enjoying Tower Hill
This South West-based organisation specialises in helping animals who are at risk of being put to sleep – including dogs, cats and rabbits. They rehome them carefully by finding appropriate foster and forever homes. This home is run by a member of Mature Vegans and Veggies UK, Gina. She told us, “I started it up just over 4 years ago. We are a holistic rescue, and believe in high quality food and treats and non-toxic treatments where possible.” You can help by donating, or displaying their flyers in your local area.
This charity takes in and rehomes large dogs. They’re based in Kent, and rehome to England, Scotland and Wales. It’s run by a special group of volunteers who do everything from admin to fundraising, dog walking, cleaning kennels, fostering, transporting and more. Support them by purchasing some of their amazing stock online – 100% of profits go to the rescue! Or just make a donation.
No pup is too big a challenge for Large Breed Dog Rescue
This sanctuary in Norwich was founded in 1995, and is now home to over 3,000 animals. Many of their residents have been rescued from the farming industry. One mature vegan stated, “This is the sanctuary that took the full herd of cows in from the farmer who went vegan. They do marvellous work and have been desperate for funds this year.” Hillside also has an animal cruelty investigation unit that acts directly from tip-offs from the local public, and they then provide video evidence that often leads to prosecution in cases of animal cruelty. Hillside is funded entirely by public donations. They need help to purchase land for more animals: help them by clicking here. You can also support their work by adopting an animal, distributing leaflets, or leaving a legacy in your Will.
This sanctuary provides refuge to cows, farm animals, and birds rescued from the misery of the meat and dairy industry and the horrors of the slaughterhouse. They have a dedicated ‘Cow Protection Program”. They self-fund as much as possible, through growing vegetables, fruit and woodland products, but always welcome support. Get in touch via their Facebook page if you’d like to support them.
Rescue lamb Adge, who unfortunately passed away recently but spent his last days with love, happiness and everything he needed
Footprints is the only sanctuary in Staffordshire that works solely for rescued animals. This organisation was only founded in 2018 – but already, they are inundated with requests to take in more animals. Currently there is a list of pigs, sheep, goats, alpaca, calves, and lots of different poultry waiting to come in, but they haven’t got enclosures to home them. Right now, they’re calling for funds needed to create new enclosures, so they can take in more animals in need. You can donate via their JustGiving page.
They do excellent work in West Yorkshire, rehoming unwanted and stray cats. The charity exists to save the lives of abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens in Yorkshire and parts of Lancashire. They have a no-kill policy.You can support them by volunteering or donating. They even have specific appeals for items the kittens really need – such as the vet bills for a kitten called Olivia.
In sanctuaries, animals can live out their lives as loving, respected, inquisitive individuals.
Farplace aims to create a network of no kill rescue centres around the UK, and eventually beyond, all on the same strict principles. They have begun with a UK first rescue centre that takes animals from around the UK and Ireland, specialising in more difficult cases like FIV+ cats. They run charity shops and vegans festivals, in order to raise money to directly support nonhuman animals and support sustainability. To donate, click here. They especially like monthly donations, from as little as £1.
At Springwood, a herd of horses has been rescued and now lives its lives in peace in South Wales. These horses live as naturally as possible, and are not ‘used’ by humans at all. This enables the horses, who may have been abused and traumatised, to thrive. They are a vegan sanctuary, and their guiding principles are: animal welfare; nurture of the land; and holistic wellbeing for humans. You can donate any amount on their website, or even buy a bundle of hay, a daily bucket of nutritious feed for a horse, hoof care and so on. You can also sponsor a specific horse, if you're able to.
This rescue centre is based in Kent, and aims to take in as many sick, distressed and unwanted animals as possible and restore them to health and happiness. The animals are kept on a 26 acre farm where they are neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and given any other medical assistance necessary. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals are then placed in secure and loving vetted homes. You can support Foal Farm in many different ways – you can donate items to them that they'll sell in their charity shop; you can donate money; or volunteer. Find out what their options are here.
V for Life work hard to spread the word on vegetarianism and veganism, partly to help prevent exploitation of animals such as these mentioned. We are always looking for volunteers to help promote our work and have a 'Friends of VfL' program set up where you can lend a hand. From attending events, encouraging care homes to join our UK List, or even just distributing our leaflets... whatever you can do is much appreciated and gladly accepted. For more information about our volunteer program, and to find our how you can become a Friend of VfL, click here, or contact email@example.com.