Hi all,
We are having a Work Day & Vegan Potluck here at Sunny Meadow Sanctuary this Saturday, January 24th, from noon to 7:00-ish, and we hope you can make it!

If you can give other volunteers a ride to the Work Day, please let us know. And if you can’t make it then, but can help some other day, just let us know that as well.

Jobs include light carpentry, barn, pasture, and paddock cleanup/maintenance, animal care, fencing, etc.. There will be a great variety of jobs to do and many hands needed!

So if you would like to come help out, that would be great. Just email us anytime at: and we will be happy to give you directions to our place. (Our farm is in Central Mass, about 1 1/2 hours from Boston.)

This is a weather-related event so please either check your email or call us on our cell at 978-257-7062 on the morning of the event for possible rescheduling due to inclement weather.

It will also be a vegan potluck, so just let us what you will be bringing if you can stay for the potluck.

There will be hot tea and lots of room to warm up in the house for everyone.

Feel free to bring snacks to share as well. We will be eating at about 5:30 so we can get most of the animals fed and tucked into their barns before dark sets in.

Produce for the animals is also needed; we really need organic apples and organic carrots. We do not need butternut squash. We had another bumper crop harvest! (We grow organic butternut squash for the animals.)

No dogs please.

Sunny Meadow still need donations to make it through 2015! If you would like to make a donation via a check rather than Paypal (Paypal takes a part of your donation), here is our PO Box address:

Sunny Meadow Sanctuary
P.O. Box 114
Holden, MA 01520-1279

For the animals,

Helen & Steve


We are having a Work Day & Vegan Potluck here at Sunny Meadow Sanctuary this Sunday, August 3rd, from noon to 7:30ish and we hope you can make it!


If you need or can give other members a ride to the Work Day, please let us know. And if you can’t make it then, but can help some other day to help out, just let us know that as well.

Jobs include light carpentry, barn, pasture,  and paddock cleanup, animal care, fencing,  etc.. There will be a great variety of jobs to do and many hands needed! 

So if you would like to come help out, that would be great. Just email us anytime at: and we will be happy to give you directions to our place. (Our farm is in Central Mass, about 1 1/2 hours from Boston.)

This is a weather-related event so please either check your email or call us on our cell at 978-257-7062 on the morning of the event for possible cancellation/rescheduling due to inclement weather.

It will also be a vegan potluck, so just let us what you will be bringing if you are staying for the potluck.

Feel free to bring snacks to share as well. We will be eating at about 6:00.

Treats for the animals are also needed; we especially need organic apples, organic carrots  and organic spinach. (The huge spinach packs are best – our ducks and hens gobble them up.) All veggies are welcome!


And/or if you can make a MUCH needed donation for the sanctuary, click on the PayPal button on the upper left, or go to the website: 

or, even better, you can send checks to:

Sunny Meadow Sanctuary
P.O. Box 114
Holden, MA 01520-1279

Any size donation will greatly help! We will send you a receipt for your taxes.


And if you have an idea for fundraising, let us know. We sure could use the help!


No dogs please. Many of our farm animals are afraid of strange dogs. Plus our yard is full of baby rabbits. (Working with a wonderful state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, we also rescue wild rabbits and squirrels – most of whom were either orphaned or hurt badly by cat attacks.)


For the animals,  


Helen & Steve


From Dennis Morelli at Peace Ridge:

Peace Ridge is excited to announce the start of 3 new donation programs giving you more ways to help us.

The Sponsor an Animal program allows you to setup a monthly donation amount that helps fund the food, care, and shelter for one of our residents.  And if you’ve visited us before and have a special someone in mind, please let us know.  The sponsorship is active for 12 months and you can certainly renew at the end of the term.

If you would rather offer a sustained monthly amount, we now offer the Monthly Giving option where you choose an amount to give and we take care of the rest!

We are also excited to announce the start of our Give So More Can Live campaign.  Our current property is quickly approaching its capacity and we are actively seeking a larger property around the greater Portland area that would carry us into our future; forever rescuing animals in the State of Maine and beyond.  Stay tuned for more information on this campaign.

In the meantime, visit the website and consider helping out an animal in need!


The following letter was received by Lisa Bouley, who works with us on Vegan Villager, from Claudine and Patrick Veistroffer. We are reprinting it in its entirety following Lisa’s suggestion.

To: whom it may concern,

My husband and I have created an animal sanctuary called Cloa’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. We are a non-profit organization (501 c3) since 2009. We acted from our hearts, responding to a great need in starting an animal sanctuary. It has been a real challenge and an adventure that changed our lives and our way of living. We gave up a lot and relocated to western MA from the Boston area in order to find a little farm house with a beautiful open pasture land for our animals to graze in peace.

We feel that starting the sanctuary is a calling for us.In our daily contact with our animals, caring for them in various ways and observing them deeply seems to activate capacities in us that have helped us to grow and open up to a new level. Capacities such as expanding the sense of presence  and the whole sensorial/sensory system to catch the reality revealing itself to us in the NOW.

This opened up our ability to cross the great divide of otherness and to enter into the great oneness of creation.

Having rescued these animals (goats, sheep, cows,and various backyard birds ) we now have a passionate commitment toward their welfare and see that they live their lives in peace and harmony the way they were meant to be.In the ebb and flow of of our daily interaction with our animals, responding to their simple needs with love and patience as well as humor , began to establish a climate of trust from these often abused, neglected animals. We began to witness a transformation in them, from merely surviving to striving. They now often display shear joy, running and hopping around.

We have really discovered the meaning of unconditional love, a love that helps to heal the wounding that comes from life’s traumas. It is this very process that leads us to our higher path. A path that calls for us to become more than we ever thought possible in order to manifest that which we envisioned in our hearts from the beginning. We want to bring this healing and share our experience with as many people as possible. For that we have to be able to continue our mission with Cloa’s Ark  Sanctuary.

We are at a cross road right now. It is a process and we are not quite there yet. It is a very sensitive situation where everything is in the balance and could lean either way.To begin with having come to western MA we started by renting a house and as we could not have our rescued farm animal here, we found a land a few miles away where they are staying. We go twice a day to care for them but we wish they could be close to us.

As our lease is running out on our rental place ,this is the time to relocate in order to manifest our vision.

Our vision is to have a healing center for consciousness and transformation, where children and young adults with special needs would come and spend some quality supervised time with the animals. We could also implement programs for inner city and disadvantage children to come and participate in an immersion in the life of the sanctuary with our animals. These programs could range short term or a longer stay. For those who really want to learn ,there could be internships with older kids during school vacation.   We would offer other activities as well, such as; nature trails with a guide to teach about wild edible plants, wild animals etc.

Our sanctuary, would also be an ideal place for family visits with the animals, to experience nature. We also would like to be an educational place showing films about animal life, the environment and how to protect our precious resources.

The potential is great providing we have the right setting and facility.

We have actually found the right place we believe in western MA not too far from where we live. A beautiful land in a peaceful setting, about 35 acres, with open pasture, woods with nature trails etc. A large common house, another building with accommodation  to sleep 12 persons, a large space downstairs for workshops, serving meals and recreation, seeing films. We are very exited to manifest this vision to the world.

Now we need investors, partners, donors, fund raisers, matching donors who believe in us and what we do.

We thought you could be one of them.

We would be very grateful if in your busy schedule you would find the time to read this letter and respond to it, telling us whether you could help one way or another.

We need to make known the mission of Cloa’s Ark.

Very gratefully yours,

Claudine and Patrick Veistroffer
Cloa’s Ark Animal Sanctuary




Following is a message from Steve and Helen Rayschick, founders of the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition and founders and proprietors of Sunny Meadow Animal Sanctuary in Barre, MA.

Next October The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) turns ten years old! There were sceptics who thought we would never make it this long but we knew that the animals needed us to.

Unfortunately, this happens during one of the worst economic periods most of us have ever known. And during hard economic times, nonprofits suffer the most. And local, grassroots groups are hardest hit.

So, if having a strong state animal rights group is important to you, help us keep MARC in the black as we turn 10!

MARC is an all volunteer group. No one is paid a salary, and there are no mandatory dues or donations. But running a 501(c)(3) nonprofit activist group takes money. Our expenses include general office expenses as well as the costs of printing, mailing, producing and preparing signs, literature and banners, tabling fees, vegan ads, providing materials to local students/groups and more. In particular, tabling fees have gone up drastically.

Currently our annual budget is only in the thousands, though, so every donation, no matter how small, really helps. But of course large donations are extremely important to MARC and always will be.

MARC works hard to educate the public about farm animal exploitation; to promote veganism; to expose the cruelty of vivisection in the biggest animal research state in the country; to picket circuses and bull riding events; to protect wildlife exploited by hunters, sealers, trappers, and by fishing; and to stop the expansion of puppy stores in the state.

These campaigns have been featured in The Globe, The Herald, The Worcester T&G, The Phoenix, The Newton Tab, The Harvard Crimson, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, The BU FreePress, The Tufts Daily, The Eagle-Tribune, The Weekly Dig, The Metro, The Brockton Enterprise, The Allston-Brighton Tab, The West Roxbury Transcript, The Braintree Patriot Ledger, Abington Mariner, on Greater Boston, on nationally syndicated radio, on television, and in numerous smaller outlets.

Articles about MARC have also appeared in IDA, FARM, Farm Sanctuary, Best Friends, Alliance for Animals and other animal publications. We also provided support info for the puppy store articles to the Herald and Channel 7 TV. MARC attorney Board Members testify at legislative hearings; MARC has held hundreds of public rallies, tablings, and demonstrations; and MARC speaks for animals in a wide range of venues: from right-wing local radio call-in programs to high schools and colleges. We’ve taught animal rights courses for adults and given sermons at local churches about animal suffering and rights. And our emails circle the globe, generating support for the animals. As Executive Director, Helen won a Massachusetts Commission on Women “Unsung Heroines” award for her work for animals and uses it as a forum to help the animals whenever she can.

We shut down the Woof & Co puppy store chain, the Cosmo fur store on Newbury Street, and no doubt had a hand in requiring the two oldest fur stores in MA, IJ Fox and Harris & Klaff, to drop their main location and combine. We also ended the rodeo in Wilmington with protests. However, we consider our true success the many people who choose to go vegan because of MARC’s work.

But MARC’s future success depends on you, our members. We have lots of great events planned, but it takes member help to keep going.

So, if you believe in what MARC is doing and can help at this time or any time, there are 2 ways to do so:

1. Write a check or money order to MARC and send it to: The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC), P.O. Box 114, Holden, MA 01520-1279.

2. Or visit our public website at: and use the Donate button on the top of each page.

Either way, we will email you a receipt that you can use if you itemize your federal taxes.

If you would like to honor someone with your gift to MARC, as many people do, just let us know and we will send them an acknowledgment.

As always, thanks for keeping MARC one of the largest, strongest, most active state AR group in the country. When we founded MARC, we believed, and we still do, that Massachusetts can support and deserves a viable statewide animal group working specifically on all animal rights issues. MARC works closely with national and local groups when appropriate, but is an autonomous entity. That gives us great flexibility. MARC focuses on bringing the truth of animal suffering and exploitation to those who would otherwise never hear it: the general public.

MARC stands up for the voiceless…

…from the street to the Statehouse.

For the animals,

Helen & Steve

founders, MARC

Chicago activist Robert Grillo’s “free from harm” movement

Robert Grillo and Sweet Pea

Robert Grillo and Sweet Pea


By Lyz Hoffman

Doris, Danita, and Sweet Pea were waiting in their coop as Robert Grillo walked down the backyard stairs of his house, trailed by Elba, his dove. He opened a gate leading to the coop, and introduced his three hens. At Grillo’s prompting, I petted Danita, her black-with-hints-of-emerald feathers spellbindingly soft.

“You just see how simple it is for them to have their needs met and feel loved and cared for,” Grillo said. “It feels really good to be able to give that back to an animal that all we’ve had is a relationship of taking.”

Grillo rescued the birds from a chick-hatching program in 2009, a “kind of chance” action in a year that would go on to be most integral in his life.

“Their value is based on the extent to which they’re a utility to humans and other than that [they] have no value,” Grillo said later in the kitchen of his North Side home, holding Doris in his lap. “But by showing people something completely different, you’re challenging that belief.”

Challenging one of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream society has become Grillo’s mission.
Also in 2009, the year that he went vegan, Grillo founded Free from Harm, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to promoting animal rights and a vegan diet. (The organization’s 501(c)3 status is still pending but nearly complete, Grillo said.)

His decisions to go vegan — meaning abstaining from eating and using any animal products — and start the organization, he said, stemmed from both a series of small, cumulative moments of increasing awareness and years of on-again, off-again vegetarianism.

“It just became the most amazing and compelling thing for me to explore,” he said. “Breaking the silence on that issue was probably the most important thing I’ll ever do in my lifetime.”

Now, four years after the organization’s inception, the website — — receives about 30,000 unique visitors per month and its Facebook page has about 8,300 likes. It’s a labor of love for Grillo. Although he pays the site’s web developer, Grillo doesn’t give himself a salary and doesn’t expect to for a while. He makes a living as president of Robert Grillo Creative, serving as a creative consultant and content developer for websites.

Since he started, Grillo, 47, has written more than 500 articles for Free from Harm, with some articles coming courtesy of a cadre of his peers.

“I just assumed it was a nonprofit organization with probably several employees,” said Ashley Capps, 34, a freelance writer who contributes to the website, about when she first discovered Free from Harm. “I later found out it was just something he was doing on the side by himself. It speaks a lot to his character and his commitment.”

Tall and thin, with caring eyes and a soft-spoken eloquence, Grillo said he aims to spread his message of animal abolition in a non-confrontational way. He understands that people can take a while to feel comfortable seriously talking about meat-eating.

“I call him the Fred Rogers of the animal world,” said Anne Hoffman (no relation to the author), 41, a local animal welfare advocate. “He just has such a kind, gentle, sensitive way of presenting himself while at the same time still getting the message across.”

Debby Rubenstein, the founder and president of the Wagner Farm Rescue Fund and Have a Heart Farm, echoed Hoffman’s praise of Grillo.

“I feel like I’ve known him forever,” she said. “Robert is probably one of the first to jump in and help someone else. He definitely lives the philosophy that we’re all in this together.”

Grillo’s view of “we” extends beyond humans to all creatures. “The fact that one species can solve complex mathematical equations and send a man to the moon and another can’t has nothing to do with suffering,” he said.

Grillo said he is hopeful that society can rethink its meat consumption, pointing to recent polling that found up to 6 percent of Americans describe themselves as vegetarians. As that figure grows, Grillo and his peers will continue asking their questions.

“People think they can totally derail the conversation by saying, ‘I love bacon,’” he said. “If we can live healthy lives without harming or killing animals, why wouldn’t we?”

We were nearing the end of our interview when Grillo brought up a question I had asked him earlier: For all of your friends and family who are supportive, are there any who aren’t?

“I thought, if the subject of your article was about a human rights issue, would people be looking for views that support slavery, support oppressive belief systems, or something of that nature?” he asked. “I bet they wouldn’t.”

Lyz Hoffman reporting for Medill Reports Chicago, a publication of Northwestern University (May 22, 2013)



PEACE RIDGE SANCTUARY was founded in 2001 in order to address animal cruelty, neglect and exploitation, and to promote vegan ethics in New England. We advocate for all animals – farmed animals, domestic companion animals, and wildlife.

We believe society needs to rethink the way that it views and interacts with animals in order to become a more peaceful and just society. We believe that social justice cannot be achieved unless we acknowledge the social injustice we perpetrate on animals.

RESCUING AND PROTECTING FARMED ANIMALS | NO-KILL SHELTER. Aside from operating the sanctuary, Peace Ridge spends a considerable amount of time rescuing and transporting farmed and shelter animals to safety. We are also involved in an on-going dialogue with other shelters in Maine about appropriate re-homing procedures for farmed animals. We also promote the No-Kill movement through our partnership with the Marion County Animal Shelter in Marion, SC.

RESCUING ANIMALS WHO WOULD HAVE LITTLE CHANCE TO LIVE OTHERWISE. Our mission is to provide permanent sanctuary to once abused and neglected animals, with a particular focus on farmed animals, and to promote compassionate lifestyle choices through humane education.

We favor the “underdog” so to speak. We rescue those animals who have little chance to live otherwise. We have expanded our operations to include an adoption program for rescue dogs who come from high-kill shelters. We continue to advocate for farmed animals, for the improvement of their conditions and work to make sure farm animals in distress in our area receive the attention they deserve. We are also active in the No-Kill movement.



For all inquiries
Phone: 207-326-9507

Mailing Address:
Peace Ridge Sanctuary
653 Back Ridge Road
Penobscot, Maine 04476

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