Goatlandia is a non-profit animal sanctuary off Olivet Ln in Santa Rosa, California. All of their animals are rescued, and they allow them to carry out their lives at the 2-acre sanctuary. According to Goatlandia’s website they recently acquired a new 20-acre property of wild space and open pasture in Sebastopol.
Deborah Blum started Goatlandia six years ago and explained in an interview “I’ve had animals my whole life. About ten years ago I saw a video on my Facebook feed by Gary Yourofsky. It was the first time I had really seen slaughterhouse footage.” She made the decision that day to go vegan. For her, the primary reason was ethical.
She stated “I very much believed it is not my right to take a life. I went vegan overnight and started visiting animal sanctuaries and vegan events.” Blum proclaimed that “I threw myself into this way of being and was so inspired that I began rescuing animals on my own. What got me to create Goatlandia was the change that I went through, I wanted to share the experience with people.”
Blum teaches people who visit Goatlandia that becoming vegan has three sides to it she explained in the interview. She conveyed that “by doing something so small as taking animals off our plate we’re doing something good for the animals, improving our health, and doing something positive for the environment.”
Goatlandia has rescued about “450 animals to this day” Blum stated. She listed “goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, and horses” as the animals that currently reside at Goatlandia. Blum stated that “one of the most common ways we rescue animals is that people call us and say they have found an animal. Sometimes animals are displaced by fires.” She also explained that “boy animals can’t make milk, so we rescue a lot of boys from dairies. We have relationships with dairies, so we take as many boys as possible.”
“Compassion fatigue is one of the most challenging parts of running Goatlandia” Blum confessed. “When you’re doing work like we do, you see a lot of animals that are frightened, abused and injured. It is a very difficult emotional burden. We see some difficult things especially when we rescue animals that are special needs, and we must make euthanasia decisions. We learn to make peace with it.”
She admitted that “the other difficult part is fundraising. She explained that she is not independently wealthy so she can’t cover the cost of running Goatlandia on her own. She is adding to their programs by starting a kid’s camp and doing more animal therapy with people. She stated that “learning to ask people for money is something I am learning, and it is a whole other skill set. It is definitely hard, but it is something I am willing to do because that’s what is going to enable us to have an impact and serve the community.”
The most rewarding part of running Goatlandia according to Blum is “being able to serve animals and rescue them and see them heal physically, emotionally and radiate that love out. [It is] hearing [people] say that turkeys are so lovable, and goats are so unique with so much personality.” She stated that “it is really nice to have a positive impact on people.”
Goatlandia isn’t just about rescuing animals but about promoting vegan food in the community. Blum stated that “we cook [vegan food] for people who come for a tour. We go to festivals in the community and cook as a food vendor.” Blum likes to show people how good vegan food can be. She stated that “I love getting messages from people saying that [they] want to eat plant-based but don’t know where to start.” Blum said that “we share on our social media when we have a vegan event.”
Goatlandia will be hosting a ‘feed the turkey’ event on Novemeber 23, at 3:00 pm. It will be a virtual event on Goatlandia’s Instagram. Megan Dallas, the sanctuary manager at Goatlandia, said in an interview that “we have a large following and [expect] maybe a hundred to tune in.” Dallas stated that “we really want to show that turkeys are amazing, intelligent, sentient beings with feelings, with favorite foods, with personality. The message is for people to leave turkey off their plate this holiday season.”
Dallas explained that they have “3 turkeys, 2 are broad breasted, Ryan and Piper. The broad breasted turkey is the type of turkey people typically eat on thanksgiving. They are genetically engineered to grow at excessive rates.” They also have on heirloom breed of turkey named Meg. Dallas said the turkeys “will eat donated produce. Ideally pumpkin, grapes, cranberries, lettuce, [and] fresh greens.”