Animal sanctuaries are little pieces of heaven on earth for animals. We all know that they are desperately needed and make such an impact on both animals and the community. They give people the opportunity to come face to face with the animals, hear their stories and hopefully make a lasting connection that will lead them to a cruelty-free lifestyle.
Sanctuaries play a vital role in the growth of veganism which is why I was so excited to discover a new sanctuary in the making, Loveland Farm Sanctuary in Orange County, CA. The compassionate soul behind this endeavor is Paris Connolly who I first met at a local vegan fair. I purchased one of her adorable, hand-crafted signs (seriously, the cutest, check them out on Etsy) that she was selling in order to raise funds for the sanctuary. She was kind enough to do a little Q&A with me, check it out below!
Told you her signs are cute! *Pictured from left: Maggie (avid supporter), Paris Connolly (founder & executive director), Dave McKeown (treasurer & fiance:) Photo Credit: Lisa Karlan
Q: Was there a certain moment or event that inspired you to go vegan?
Yes, for sure! I was actually vegetarian for about ten years, thinking I was making a morally good choice for myself; and I was in my mind, relatively speaking. Sadly, I had no solid understanding of what happens in the dairy and egg industry. In Nov of 2014, I went to a private screening of the documentary, Speciesism where I was introduced to the horrible cruelty and unnecessary killing that happens in these industries and my heart was permanently broken. I went Vegan that evening and haven’t looked back since.
Paris and Dave at Animal Place in Grass Valley, CA (Photo Credit: Paris Connolly and Dave McKeown)
Q: What inspired you to want to build a sanctuary?
After the devastating realization I had from the aforementioned documentary, I felt so helpless. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to carry on in a world that to me felt so cold and heartless. All I could think to do was help in whatever way I felt would make a difference, and what that looked like for me was working directly with the victims of society’s current, very violent food system, offering them a better life. I knew I couldn’t save everyone, but I could help a few and to them, that would mean everything. That is when the dream of opening the doors to Loveland was born.
Q: When you envision Loveland Farm Sanctuary in your mind, what do you see?
I see, first and foremost, a place of recovery, safety and solace for those gentle beings who have been terribly abused and mistreated; those who have been lucky enough to escape a very tragic end that is waiting around the corner for so many undeserving creatures. Secondly, I see a place of community building for those curious to learn more about living a compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle, which most certainly includes living vegan. We’ll offer plenty of opportunities to experience our residents living in a peaceful, safe environment, akin to what they would encounter in their natural habitat before humans disrupted that process. Supporters of our cause will have a chance to learn about Vegan living and how to incorporate kindness into their purchasing decisions. We’ll also be offering services for Vegan-based entrepreneurs who are looking to start a new endeavor, but need assistance in getting off the ground. It’ll be a place of healing and wonder not just for our future residents, but for the human members of our community as well.
Pictured from Left: Paris speaking at their recent fundraiser Gala (Photo Credit: Natalie Ladik NRL Photography), a beautiful photo of their Gala which was a vegan dinner cruise
Q: What is one thing that someone may be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmm, I guess for anyone who has met me in person, they may not realize I have a background in singing. I’ve been in a number of community musical theater productions and have been in countless singing contests and talent shows. I adore the art of music and would love to make more time for it.
Q: What is your fave go-to meal?
Vegan mac n’ cheese hands down! Whenever I see it on a menu, I crumble. Can’t possibly leave without trying the mac n’ cheese. :)
Q: Do you have a favorite quote that you can always count on to make you smile?
“Never take advice from anyone who hasn’t done what you want to do, been where you want to be, or paid the price you’re willing to pay.” - my Grampa
Q: If someone wants to donate to Loveland Farm Sanctuary, how can they do so?
You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook!
Paris and Dave at their fall gala (Photo Credit: Shanti Scribe)
I have no doubt in my mind that Loveland Farm Sanctuary is going to be a beautiful place and I cannot wait to see it come to life! Stay tuned!