Animal sanctuary needs funding to survive
Ferme des Rescapés has been taking in unwanted or sick animals for 20 years
A 29-hectare animal sanctuary with over 600 rescued animals, many of whom are too old, sick or in too bad condition for any other association to take, is facing closure due to lack of funds and rising costs.
The ‘Ferme des Rescapés’ in Cassagnes, Pyrénées-Orientales, has been rescuing abandoned animals for almost 20 years and, once rehabilitated, lets the animals live together without pens or separation fencing.
Unlike most other animal associations, this farm does not only welcome abandoned dogs and cats but also farm animals that are left alone in difficult conditions or destined for the abattoir. It even recently welcomed a Zebu after his owner was sent to prison.
For 11 years, owner Ms Verena Fiegl took care of the rescued animals by herself, paying for them with her own money. She paid for veterinary check-ups, medicine, castrations, and even radiology in some cases. She used to find helpless animals in very bad condition left to die on the street: “No one cared, it was a total disaster,” she said.
Eight years ago, she asked for donations from animal associations in order to continue but today, the donations are not enough to pay for all 600 animals. “Every one of them needs care. For instance, I take every cat to the vet to get it castrated - can you imagine how much this costs?” she said.
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Ms Fiegl often receives animals from other associations that are either not getting adopted or too old. She also gets calls when people find homeless animals or ones in danger. “We give these animals family love,” she said. “They are loved and they are free in nature, which helps them get better physically and become more and more human-friendly.” For her, this proves that most of them are ready to have a new home.
Ms Fiegl, a scientist, originally started the farm as a research project but did not develop the idea and soon turned to helping the animals.
Most of the animals are up for adoption, and the farm is open to donations.