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How Animal Sanctuaries Can Survive Severe Weather And Flooding With Helbard Alkhassadeh

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Agricultural farms and animal sanctuaries are the most devastated by the severe weather and flooding in California these past few weeks. To learn what people are doing to survive such harsh conditions, Corinna Bellizzi sits down with the Co-Founder of Little Hill Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that saves animals from slaughter and abuse. He talks about the recent upgrades to their facilities to keep sheep, goats, turkeys, pigs, cats, and dogs comfortable and away from the dangers of flood and rain. He talks about the survival lessons he learned from the 2020 fires and how he applies them to their current challenges. Helbard also laments about the lack of government support simply because they do not kill animals and how they cope with the rising hay prices.

 

About Helbard Alkhassadeh

CMBB 123 | Animal SanctuariesHelbard Alkhassadeh is the Co-Founder of Little Hill Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization he started with his wife, Camilla. They seek to create a kinder world by rescuing and protecting animals from cruelty, providing them with sanctuary and compassionate care, and combating speciesism through promoting veganism. Their slogan is “Friends, not Food.”

 

 

 

Guest Links

Website: https://littlehillsanctuary.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/littlehillsanctuary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlehillsanctuary

Additional Resources Mentioned: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1306025863511631/552099380153157

 

Show Notes

0:00 – Introduction

2:01 – How Little Hill Sanctuary started

5:47 – 2020 Fires

10:06 – Lack of government support

12:19 – Services at Little Hill Sanctuary

20:09 – Plans for a worst-case scenario

24:22 – How to help Little Hill Sanctuary

30:02 – Care More Be Better’s Fundraiser

31:41 – Educating yourself about food

37:38 – Conclusion

 

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How Animal Sanctuaries Can Survive Severe Weather And Flooding With Helbard Alkhassadeh

Every week, I invite you on a journey to care more so that we can create a better world together. Many of you have been watching the news and hearing about the devastation that we are experiencing here on the Central Coast of California. We’ve been pummeled by back-to-back atmospheric rivers, a new term that I hadn’t heard, a bomb cyclone that struck Capitola, placing much of that community underwater, mudslides abound, and sinkholes have appeared. School closures have been in effect, homes have been destroyed, and businesses are too.

In this episode, I’m going to share some of that personal experience and that of a dear friend as I introduce you to Helbard Alkhassadeh. He and his wife Camilla founded a sanctuary on the Central Coast to provide forever homes to animals that would otherwise be destined for slaughter or for the plate. Their not-for-profit is called Little Hill Sanctuary. It’s home to dozens of chickens and roosters, some of whom were rescued from cock fighting rings, a few turkeys, pigs, sheep goats, and also a few cats, dogs, and their human caretakers. Their slogan is, “Friends, not Food.” Helbard, welcome to the show.

How are you?

I’m dry. I’m not flooded. I don’t have a landslide on my property, so things are pretty darn good.

I’m on dry land right now too, so it’s not that bad over here where I’m at. Luckily, we have an office next to the barn and it’s on the hill. We’re called Little Hill, and it’s on top of the hill. The barn’s over 52 years old. It’s lasted through a lot of weather. It’s muddy outside, but I’m dry inside right now.

I saw some local coverage where were interviewed on what’s going on at the sanctuary and a new initiative you’re undertaking because of the challenges that you face. Before we dive into all of that, as a first order of business, I would like for you to talk about why you got this thing started in the first place. What is Little Hill Sanctuary all about?

Originally, when we moved to this land here in Royal Oaks, California, we had not planned to do anything like this. There was no future planning of how we were going to lay everything out on the property and if we were going to have animals. We didn’t even have a dog at that point. There was just Camilla and me. We happened to be driving through town one day and there was a yard sale that was happening down the road from here.

I had been a photographer for many years and immediately, my eyes caught some vintage cameras that were sitting out on a table. I pulled in, ran up, and started looking at the cameras. While I was looking at the cameras, a lamb ran up to me and this ram could not have been more than 3 or 4 weeks old. I started petting this ram and I asked the people that were having this yard sale, “What’s the story with this lamb?” They said, “He’s going to be dinner on Tuesday.”

This was a Sunday. With me being vegan at the time, that was pretty depressing and it messed with me. Camilla and I got back in the car and we’re driving off. I look over at her and I go, “I can’t. I got to go back.” She goes, “Yeah, we can’t leave that ram there.” We headed back and we came back with this month-old lamb. His name was Lambert. He hung out with us on the property, and I would call out for him. He would run up to me. I built him a little pen area.

We watched this little guy start growing. We went to get some feed for him, and the next thing we know, we see some hens at the feed store that didn’t look like they were in a very good place. They were crammed in this small cage. We got them and we brought them. The next thing you know, there was a sheep and then some goats. All of a sudden, I had all this cost on my hands to care for these animals.

I was paying out of pocket for it and the prices kept going up. We kept rescuing more animals and I went to Camilla one day, and I said, “Can you ask for donations because we’re doing all this stuff, but I’m not exactly sure what the plan is for this whole thing and where we’re going with this.” We ended up making it a nonprofit, giving it a name, and here we are.

We now have a not-for-profit sanctuary with about 100 animals. We’ve been around for a few years, and it’s been pretty interesting, to say the least. Also, the amazing thing is that we didn’t have an idea of what sanctuaries, especially California sanctuaries are about. Once we realized what we were going through and how much work it was to care for animals, we started reaching out to other sanctuaries. Now, we have this amazing network of sanctuaries that we work with, and we’re all connected.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: Little Hill Sanctuary is a not-for-profit sanctuary with about 100 animals.

 

We went from rescuing this one lamb to now rescuing hundreds of animals every year and being connected with all these other sanctuaries around the state and the country. Also, making it much easier for animals that need rescue to go from a place where they’re in danger to a place where they can live the rest of their lives in peace and safety and make it as seamless as possible.

Here in California, we’ve had a couple of challenges to contend with over the last few years, going from very dry, in some cases, it was harder to get hay, or the hay would be a lot more expensive to get all of your water at once like we’ve been experiencing now to a couple of years ago, fires that resulted in evacuations.

You have people with their home farms where they might have chickens, goats, and other things living in the mountains of Santa Cruz County saying, “I need to get my animals somewhere. We have to escape right now.” Some of the things that you do, and that I know you’re connected with, when you’re trying to handle these situations, it’s like everything becomes an eleventh-hour fire. Where are you right now? How can people help and what’s the path forward for you?

The 2020 fires were an eye-opener for us because not only was our power shut off for a good period of time in the summer, which is something we hadn’t experienced before, because power outages here were more of a winter thing.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: The 2020 fires were an eye-opener for every animal sanctuary that power outages can still happen in summer and not just during winter.

 

That was every time the wind blew.

We’ve had power outages for six days straight. We had gotten ourselves prepared for that, but then when it started happening in the summer, it was a whole different thing because as in most sanctuaries, our water comes from wells and wells run on electricity. When the power goes out in the winter, we collect rainwater. We’ve been doing that through all these at atmospheric rivers.

However, when the power goes out in the summer, several times a day, you have to make sure the animals have enough water. We had to change how we were functioning throughout the year. We’ve been in this very aggressively moving towards solar. We’ve been slowly accumulating our solar infrastructure, which we’re hoping will go live within the next couple of months.

The entire sanctuary is going to be off-grid and run solar. We won’t be relying on specific gas and electric services. We can care for our own animals with our own power source. We also realize that a lot of people in a lot of other sanctuaries are in situations and in environments that whether it’s a fire or a flood are in a much worse situation than we are when something happens. For example, during the 2020 fires, we rescued about 400 animals in about two weeks’ time.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: Little Hill Sanctuary will be off-grid and run solar. When that happens, they can take care of animals without relying on specific gas and electric services.

 

All the other animals got returned to their owners or to their homes, but it’s been something that we are constantly trying to keep up with because, in 2022, we had this terrible flood the day after Christmas that ruined a bunch of our tools. It wrecked a bunch of our feed, and our property and almost killed our horses. It was this awful flood. We managed to save the animals at 2:00 in the morning in the dark and started rebuilding and this happens in 2023. It was ten of those in a row.

We’re realizing something’s not the same. Something is changing and we all talk about it. We know it’s happening, and we think it’s going to be our grandkid’s problem, but we’re realizing it may be our problem to the extent that if we don’t do something about it now, our grandkids won’t be around to deal with it. It is our problem. It’s this generation’s issue.

We have to do something now because there’s so much patching, duct taping, and trying to repair and jerry-rigged things you can do until you have to give up. We’re at the point where we don’t even think that it’s realistic to have an animal sanctuary and rescue in this part of California, because where are we going to go? Where is it safe now? Where is it realistic in the Central Coast, if this is going to happen every year for 2 or 3 months a year?

That’s the bleak side of things. I know that the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a state of emergency. I wondered if that had resulted in any funds or support being available to you at all at this point. Is that still something you’re working to reveal?

There is an odd disconnect between the government and farms. This happened during COVID, and it’s happened in the past during fires and floods. When a farm requests funding for whether repairing their soil or any damage, they get that funding and there are organizations, whether they’re government organizations or non-government organizations, they get funded and things move forward.

However, as we learned during COVID, we are not on the same level as these farms because we don’t kill our animals. If the animals are here living, getting old, and not being slaughtered, then they are not a part of the economy. Because they’re not a part of the economy, the government doesn’t want to either subsidize or help the organization.

Did that change with FEMA, given that the federal level is now available?

FEMA has nothing to do with what we do. They’re not a part. They don’t care. It’s not a FEMA thing. If it was me as a person, as a human, and my home had a tree fall on it, there are endless services for me but if a tree falls on one of our animal shelters, there are no services for that, because they’re not animals that are going to be put into the market as food. We don’t get that service from the government because we’re on our own.

If a tree falls on a human or their home, they receive endless services. But if the same happens for an animal shelter, they will not receive such services because they are not put into the market as food. Click To Tweet

We either get donations from people that support us, or that’s it. California’s not going to step in and say, “We want to make sure your animals are safe.” They’re going to go to Turlock or Modesto and make sure that the chicken farms and the cattle farms are doing well. It’s an economical move and not a move to care for any person or animal.

You mentioned you had passed through or helped save over 400 animals back in the 2020 fires. Talk to us about what that looks like because I want the people to understand what services you have had to provide or that you are providing in times when strife comes up.

Usually, the normal process is we either get a call or we get contacted. Somebody says there’s an animal that’s in danger, and we go and we find out if they are in danger. We want to make sure it’s not somebody that shouldn’t have an animal under their care. It’s that this animal is actually in danger, or it’s an animal that has escaped a slaughter situation, or it’s an animal that somebody has removed from a bad situation and needs to them housed somewhere.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: Little Hill Sanctuary rescues animals that are in danger, have escaped a slaughter situation, or have been removed from a bad situation and need to be housed somewhere.

 

That’s usually the process. They fill out forms. They surrender the animal. We either bring them directly here or we have them brought to another sanctuary or rescue. When a wildfire happens, there are evacuations and there’s a sanctuary with let’s say 250 rescues, there’s no time and realistic way of getting everyone into an ark and moving them off the property. It’s chaos.

It’s everyone getting their trailers over there trying to round up as many animals as possible. Here, we have pigs that are 750 or 850 pounds that have never been on any hard ground. They’ve always been on soil, grass, and mud since they were little babies. Trying to get them into a trailer is impossible because they’re like, “What are you doing? I’m not going to go into that thing.”

It’s a frightening thing for them.

Even horses have to be trained to get into a trailer.

I had a trailer that was too small for my thoroughbred horse at one point. It was a straight load, but it seemed too small so the horse refused to go to the point where they reared up and ended up injuring themselves coming down on the lip of the trailer.

Imagine that happening and multiply it by a couple of hundred with fire and smoke coming at you. It’s complete chaos and dozens of people that these animals have never seen before running around with crates. We realize that it’s unrealistic to say, “We have a plan to get out.” There is no plan. When we were rescuing those animals, Camilla was driving into the fire zone, loading up turkeys and chickens, and driving back and going back.

People were coming up and putting in carts with names and tags on them. We were trying to organize it. It was chaotic. It was very stressful for the animals. It was unfair to everyone. During an emergency situation, no matter what you see on TV or how the news is trying to process it to people, it’s 1 million times worse than you can imagine.

An emergency situation is a million times worse than you can imagine or what you see on the news. Click To Tweet

Let’s say those people that were closer to the ridge when the CZU fire complex hit and it was quite sudden. It was unpredictable for a little bit, and winds hit and suddenly sent the fires leaping over roadways and things like that. I had a friend who had a flock of chickens up on the ridge and had no time to be able to get them out. She made the choice to release them all and hope that they’d be able to survive the fire, understanding that these were chickens that had been cared for since they were itty-bitty but it was their only option. She couldn’t fit them all in the car with their dog, their kid, and their precious belongings. That was just it.

Sadly, people have to make those choices. In the case of horse evacuations, often, you’re forced to prioritize which animals are going to save. I’ve got sixteen to get out. I have a four-horse trailer. Do the math. You may be able to leave once and you hope you can come back and get more, but you don’t know if you’ll be able to. It might be the easy loaders. They get in because you can get them out quickly.

For anybody who has a horse, and if you haven’t done a lot of training with regard to helping them load and unload from a trailer, it is a vital use of your time. I know it’s a lot of work. I’ve personally done it and sometimes having a trailer with one of those sweeping gates that can open to make it look more spacious can be helpful too. However, often because people understand how severe this can be, a friend with a trailer will help. You have to ask. Get some support. It can help develop your plan. Good intentions and plans can go a long way. The door opens and suddenly a fire erupts, but at least you can be a little bit more prepared.

You have to be somewhat prepared. It’s difficult to be completely ready, and I thought we were ready. I thought for the water and for the mud, I thought we were ready. I did everything I could with the equipment we have. I was on a tractor for hours on end, and I made sure that everything was ready. When that first heavy rain came, I went out in the middle of the night. I checked on everyone, and everything was perfect.

Everything was moving. The water was moving in the right direction. Everyone was in their barns and shelters and everything was great. The next rain came, and then everything fell apart. There was no way of keeping up with the rain. As we’re talking right now, there’s more rain coming. Right after I speak with you, I’m going to go out there and try to get some more stuff prepared. It’s extremely exhausting and you feel defeated. You feel like there’s no way of getting ahead of it.

I see it in the eyes of the crews out there working on the wires, Caltrans, and all the folks out there trying to get everything fixed. You can tell from the look on their faces, “This is all going to happen again in the next week. When does this end?” It’s pretty brutal right now. The last number I saw was over $30 billion of damage to California.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: The rain in California is pretty brutal and seems without end. It already cost the state around $30 billion in damages.

 

That’s a very rough estimate. I will say the only species that are loving all of this are the mushrooms. I’ve been spending some time looking around the neighborhood and I’m like, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that mushroom here before.” For people reading, where we are in northern California, you can associate it with Redwoods, but we’ve had such intense drought for so long that the ground isn’t even prepared to be able to take this in.

A lot of it is going right down the drains and you think, “We’re going to have more water and the drought will be over,” but we’re not even in that situation yet but we get an intense level of rain all at once. That is the recent pattern and our summers are desert-like. We get almost no water between sometimes as early as March and as late as November. What does that do to your ability to grow food because you need to borrow water?

Hay prices are going up, which impacts you directly. What we’ve seen as far as water allocations for California and the growing of alfalfa oat and grass hay is 30% of what it needs to be if we’re going to be at full production. That is 1 or 2 cuttings missed throughout the summer depending on where your base is and what your water allocation was. It means that this problem is also going to worsen. Is there a plan at this point for what that worst-case scenario is? Are you planning to relocate the farm? Is that even feasible?

Relocating is an option. It’s something we’re looking at. Where to relocate is the real question because where is it not happening? For a short time in 2022, we were getting our feed or bales from out of state because California ran out of hay.

It was Oregon mostly, right?

It was coming all the way from Utah at some point. It was coming from everywhere and the price for a bale of grass has shot up to $31 now. It was $15 a few years ago. As you said, the number of cuttings isn’t happening. There is alfalfa and grass that they would get 5, 7, and 8 cuttings from. They’re getting 3 or 4 if they’re lucky. This rain isn’t going to change that because it is still at I think 50% something.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: The price for a bale of grass has shot up to $31. It was $15 a few years ago.

 

There is still a lot of water that’s needed to go into the aquifers. You go into the Central Valley. Their aquifers have been pumped so hard that the clay is collapsing. The aquifers can’t get their full capacity like they had to so they have to drill wells deeper to get to that water which causes so many other problems. Here in the Central Valley, we’re having saltwater intrusion into wells.

A couple of farmers in our area have left. We lost the farmer up the road from us who has been extremely helpful with feed. He is helping us get feed for the animals during the warmer months. He’s gone. There is erosion happening on another farm up the hill from us. It looks like there are canyons where they used to grow food. This is where human food and animal food is coming from. Where do we go where we’re going to be closer to feed to have the price be lower? Where is it where we’re not seeing the effects of weather patterns changing?

I don’t know where would be a logical place, but it’s one of those things that we have to think of now and start planning for it. There have been certain sanctuaries in the past few months that have left California. We had a very large sanctuary in California and moved to the state of New York. They moved all of their animals and equipment to New York because it was more realistic for them to be able to care for their animals there than it is here which is bizarre. It’s mind-blowing that California is one step lower than New York State for animal care. You’d think California would be the best weather, but it’s not anymore.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: Looking for another place where feed prices are lower and the effects of changing weather patterns are absent must be planned as soon as possible.

 

Those who have had the experience of being at a horse barn or a farm or a sanctuary like yours can understand and picture some of the challenges that you’re talking about. I have been in and around these types of environments my whole life, being somebody who’s into horses, growing up on a commune, and having animals that we used for food.

In our case, we consumed them. It wasn’t a vegan thing. We had chickens, rabbits, and horses, which we rode. They were the treat more than anything for me but generally speaking, you’d run into a challenge like, “It got too cold. I need to break the ice in the trough,” or all of a sudden, all my pipes burst because they’re above ground and they weren’t insulated.

Now, I have to replace all this PVC piping, and there are last-minute emergencies that come up constantly. However, the fact of it is that we’re likely to be hit with another system. My heart is with you. I would like to know what the state is for your animals right now. Is there a plan? How can we help?

We went through rebuilding and building new shelters. All of our animals have a winter shelter to be able to go to. The horses are on higher land now next to a shelter that we prepared for them. They were moved up there as soon as the rain started. The goats have a barn to go up to the higher ground. The pigs, no matter what I do, want to be in the mud. I can’t get them out of the mud. I can spend all day making their lives easy and comfortable. They will figure out a way to lay in the mud and lay in the rain.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: After the weather experienced in 2022, Little Hill Sanctuary went through rebuilding and building new shelters, particularly winter shelters.

 

They’re enjoying the storms.

They have no idea what we’re talking about. They think this is the best thing that’s ever happened. The pigs are pigs. The hens, the birds, and the turkeys have all been moved into different areas. First of all, we were very concerned about the avian flu. The bird flu that was going through the entire country has killed hundreds of millions of animals that very few people are talking about. The avian flu has jumped species. It is now getting other species sick. It did get a few humans sick too. It wasn’t an outbreak. It wasn’t a pandemic. It was controlled, but we needed to be careful because it was happening closer to us.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: The avian flu has jumped species, even getting a few humans sick. It wasn’t an outbreak or a pandemic, but everyone needs to be careful.

 

Wild birds could come into your property and they might have it. They essentially bring it with their feces, right?

Yeah. We covered all of our bird population and there was no way for them to be exposed to it. We had very strict rules on who goes into the bird enclosures, how boots were getting cleaned, and how hands were getting washed. We were careful, but that also prepared us for rain. The birds are all good. We did get some mud and some water into some bird areas, which we know we have to fix some things now. That will do.

The animals are safe. Everyone is in a safe place. They’re comfortable, but it’s not because everything is set and we can walk away. It’s constant work to keep them safe. They’re not in their normal areas so it causes some confusion and stress to the animals. Everyone knows any stress or confusion creates an immune system issue, which causes illness. We were trying to avoid that as much as possible but we were also constantly moving hay, straw, and wood shavings around.

We have tons of gravel being delivered to us all the time and base rock. We’re trying to keep the pathways to the animals as accessible as possible. Right now, on any hill, a tractor will slide down off of it. In any flat area, a tractor will sink into it. No matter what we’ve done, nature’s winning that round. We’re trying to keep the animals as comfortable, stress-free, and safe as possible. It’s taking a lot of work, but how much we can do this and how long we can do this is unpredictable.

I’m hoping that in a few weeks, things will start mellowing out and things will dry out. We need not these one-day breaks that we’ve been getting every 4 or 5 days. We need a full week of everything drying out and puddles going away so we can move equipment around and fix things. That’s very important. We need at least 5 or 7 days.

Those who follow me on TikTok or Instagram have seen some of the footage locally where I am showing sheets of water when we have a break in the rain still coming down off of hillsides. Storm drains are completely full to the point where the waters continue down. I personally have unclogged some of the storm drains because they got littered with debris and we were getting essentially lakes and some of the neighborhoods.

This has been a real eye-opening period for me personally too. I learned that a sinkhole erupted on Glenwood Drive, which is up the road where I used to keep my horses. You don’t know where the next challenge is going to come from, and to your point about the tractors, this means you can’t be using heavy equipment at a time like this, even though it might be immensely helpful. Are you doing all of this by hand?

Yeah and by hand, meaning you can’t even use a hand truck. Wheels sink into anything out here right now. Everything has to be carried and a bale of mix is 70 to 100 pounds.

CMBB 123 | Animal Sanctuaries
Animal Sanctuaries: Because of severe flooding, Little Hill Sanctuary cannot even use hand trucks as wheels sink into anything. Everything has to be carried, and a bale of mix is around 70 to 100 pounds.

 

Especially if it has any water intrusion.

We’ve been good with making sure our feed is dry, but it’s heavy. Fifty-pound bags of feed is not a big deal unless you have to carry them for a very long path and in the mud. The mud here is now, at best, it’s 4 or 5 inches, but in a lot of spots, we’re going at least 1-foot of mud that we have to walk through with feed.

You have to wear waders and not just boots.

Yes. I have my Halloween costume all set for next year. I’m all ready to go.

As we prepare to wrap, I’m going to share a couple of things. One, I did start a fundraiser on Facebook for your sanctuary. Now, it’s shared on my personal page, but also on the Care More Be Better page. Anybody who visits my page can choose to make a small donation. If they are recurring, you’re getting matching funds from a generous donor. I set up a recurring donation of $25 a month but hopefully, I can keep that up and keep contributing.

I’m also asking anybody from the community who’s able to do so to please consider doing it. You can also start your own Facebook fundraisers if this is something that you are passionate about and the benefit of doing that is simple. With a Facebook fundraiser, they cover the 3% charges that would otherwise be taken away from Helbard and the Little Hill Sanctuary. The money that you put forward can all go to work as opposed to just part of it. Sometimes that 3% makes a difference.

Secondly, I want to say something about animal welfare in general and this is coming to people who are considering getting another animal in their own life. Please adopt or rescue before you go to a pet store, no matter what you’re looking at. I have seen at our local shelter, anything from guinea pigs to rabbits to even baby goats and lizards of all different sorts. We have adopted a bearded dragon and three guinea pigs.

My dog and horse were a rescue. Again, think about providing that forever home to an animal in need. It’s the best way to do things. We don’t need to go out there and get a purebred animal. There are plenty of animals that need homes. I’m going to step off my soapbox and ask you if you’d like to leave our audience with any closing thoughts.

My job and what we do would be a lot easier if people eat food, which is most people I know. We’re never taught this as children. If you spend some time where and how your food is brought to you, go to farms. There are a lot of farms that are open to the public. They have days where they open their farms during the summer and the fall months to have people go and visit. Everyone lives within 10 minutes or 1 hour of a farm, you can go see a farm and see what’s going on.

As a vegan, I suggest people go to slaughterhouses. People go visit where chickens are raised for food to experience that also because I know that makes a huge difference in how people eat. Also, teach younger people and your children what you see and what you experience. My experience of rescuing animals, most of them that were going to be consumed by humans has changed the way, not only how I interact with animals, but it also changed the way how I interact with people.

We have a choice, unlike the tiger in Africa that can hunt and eat an animal. Our choices of how we’ve consumed our food and the decisions we’ve made about what we want, rather than what our world needs have led us to the point where we see endless rain and drought, rising seas, war, and chaos around the world.

Caloric intake is the primer to war. We feed 90 billion animals so that we can feed 7 billion humans. It doesn’t make sense to me the decisions we make and how we go about caring for humans by not caring for other species. Learn where your food comes from. I was speaking to somebody who didn’t know a lamb was a baby sheep, and an adult with a family not knowing that a lamb is what we call a baby sheep. They thought it was a different species, an adult species. That tells me how we’ve been raised and how we’ve been educated about food. Educate yourself about food. Know where things come from and what the ingredients are because it makes a huge difference for everyone.

I have to say I 100% agree with you and for the readers of this show, if you heard our last episode with David Moscow, he talks about the fact that he has had two dispatch numerous animals. In his travels, he has produced a show from scratch and also written a book from scratch. It has dramatically decreased his consumption of meat products as a result. He says, he thinks about it now, every time he’s going to eat a meal, and that mostly his plates these days are comprised of vegetation, vegetables, and mostly vegan.

Even if most people would consider making some shifts by getting more closely connected to food, it could have a dramatic impact. My favorite author is Jonathan Safran Foer. He is a vegan author. He wrote Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close and some other books that have become film adaptations as well. He has written a book called Eating Animals, as well as another about saving the climate. He wrote an essay that’s included in Paul Hawken’s Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.

That essay says, “If you can just go vegan before dinner.” No animal products before dinner would ultimately make a huge difference. The number of animals that are consumed, that are farmed for our climate, and for our health, all of these things can come together. There is a health reason for doing this as well. If that isn’t enough to convince you, then think about this. The fact is that when you consume more meats, you produce more advanced glycation and products which age you prematurely, and which can impact your health in a very negative way with time.

There are movements out there like the carnivore movement, among other things. I don’t even want to touch them with a 10-foot pole. Understand that there’s a lot of science behind eating mostly plants and getting your nutrition from plants can be an incredible way to support your health and vitality long term. Helbard, it’s such a joy to have the opportunity to finally tell your story. I’ve wanted to do this for some time, and I’m sorry that it had to be under such extreme conditions.

No, it’s fantastic being able to talk to you and letting people know what’s going on out here. They can help. They can support us. Whether you want to support us with volunteering, you can go to our website, LittleHillSanctuary.org, and sign up to be a volunteer or you can donate funds. If you don’t want to take the risk of donating funds, we have a wish list. You can buy specific things for our rescues that help us every single day.

You can also sponsor a specific animal from what I saw, right?

Yes. It’s pretty awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate talking to you.

I appreciate your time. Thank you so much, Helbard.

As a closing reminder, the website for Little Hill Sanctuary is simply LittleHillSanctuary.org. You can also find them on Instagram and on Facebook @LittleHillSanctuary. Remember when you donate on Facebook that they do cover the fees and they make it very simple to start your own campaigns. Whether it be a charity like Little Hill Sanctuary or another that’s local to your community, you can go ahead and do that to support charities that you care about, from donating your birthday to stepping up in a time of need.

I have started a Be Better Challenge. Every Monday on our social platforms, we are featuring a specific topic. The first of the year was talking about getting outside and appreciating nature. The second was about community. For the community, I chose to support Little Hill Sanctuary. Stay tuned each Monday for that on social platforms.

I hope that you’ll engage and think about the things that you can do each week to care a little bit more so that we can all be better. Thank you readers now and always for being a part of this show and this community because together, we can do so much more. We can care more. We can be better. We can even create stronger communities and protect a lot of animals out there. Thank you.

 

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Guest

  • Helbard Alkhassadeh

    Helbard Alkhassadeh is the Co-Founder of Little Hill Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization he started with his wife, Camilla. They seek to create a kinder world by rescuing and protecting animals from cruelty, providing them with sanctuary and compassionate care, and combating speciesism through promoting veganism. Their slogan is “Friends, not Food.”

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