The hidden side of animal sanctuaries
Many animal lovers dream of founding their own sanctuary.
As you know if you follow us on social media (@arsayoparis), brand co-founder Ary Ohayon made that dream come true. If you would like to discover the history of the sanctuary, we have written an article here! And today we want to talk about the reality of sanctuaries. Beyond the very strong and beautiful symbol of saving our animal friends, running a sanctuary is far from an easy thing to do.
The setting up of the area is a first challenge. The infrastructure budget must be taken into consideration, preferably before the arrival of your residents. Requirements are fencing, food, hay, straw (for litter), shelter, and a budget for monthly care.
Sheep need drug treatments every trimester to prevent certain diseases. Over thousands of years of breeding and genetic selection, the species has been so altered that it would have enormous difficulty surviving in a wild environment. That’s why we have to take care of it.
Natural medicine against diarrhea or parasites, for example, is necessary. Also, our climate being too hot and humid for sheep, vaccines and dewormers exist to alleviate their various health problems. You will therefore need to keep a close eye on the animals and be available for the vet visits in addition to bringing them love on a daily basis!
In the nature, wild species, such as mouflons, rub against trees to remove excess wool from their bodies. Today, farmed sheep have been selected for their wool. They therefore produce far too much for a single season, and are unable to regulate it on their own. It is therefore our responsibility to shear them so that they do not suffer from the weight and heat of their own wool which would also bring them diseases such as myiasis.
Also for the maintenance of the animal well-being, it is necessary to regularly take care of their hooves, to cut them to avoid them joint problems. The original habitat of wild sheep (eg: mouflons) is rocky. In the sanctuary, the ground is made of grass and the hooves are continually growing (like our fingernails :)).
Let's move on to maintaining their environment. Like all ruminants, sheep defecate where they rest and sleep. This means that you will have to clean this space very regularly in order to give them the comfort they deserve. You will also need a very large area of fresh grass so that they can eat throughout the year.
Sheep live in a community so it is important that they have family and friends. Saving several of them would be ideal. In our sanctuary, a real little family has been formed. However, if group means males and females mixed together, we want to avoid procreations. Castration of males saves females (who have usually gone through a lot of suffering in their lives) and calms aggressive behaviors caused by high levels of testosterone in the blood.
Our sheep are sentient beings and rescued from the clutches of the industry that exploits them and makes them suffer. If we welcome other sheep, they will also have a heavy past. We want to save them and avoid “creating” more of them. The objective of a sanctuary is to offer an idyllic end of life for our survivors.
Let us now turn to the subject of chickens. Coming from the worst farms in the egg industry, they arrived at the sanctuary plucked, deficient, thin and sick ... Today, they are all in great shape and each shows us a personality of their own!
In terms of maintenance, they should be treated against parasites once a month. It is necessary to check their plumage regularly in order to detect the possible presence of fleas or lice. The hens clean themselves using Diatomaceous earth. They take "earth baths" when they feel the need.
What do we do with the eggs they produce? The hens eat them, so we let them. When there is extra, we give it to our loved ones to prevent them from buying at supermarkets.
Despite this very intense hidden side, all those interactions with the animals make them happy, and so we are. The bond that we have created with the sheep is incredible. They give a lot affection. They are playful and very curious. Our sanctuary is a place where humanity and nature find back a forgotten symbiosis.
And like all animals, they offer their trust as well as their unconditional love. The Arsayo family motto takes on its full meaning here:
“All that matters is love.”