Let this be a call to all the happy hearts who are interested in living with community in dedication to Animal Liberation. Introducing: Peacebird Animal Liberation Cooperative — a vegan community at Piebird Farm Sanctuary in Nipissing, Ontario — an interspecies intentional community focused around sanctuary and dedicated to Animal Liberation and respecting animal-personhood.
Follow along: www.instagram.com/peacebird.vegan.ecovillage/
January 22 2018 letter:
The best world we can imagine must undergo the formality of actually occurring. What’s in our happy hearts must exist under our feet if it is ever to spread to the hearts of our neighbours. Heavy concepts of true Peace, Personhood, and Equality become echoes lost in our soul if we don’t create them with our hands. So this creation must be the first act of Liberation: to actually build a place of Peace. Set it free from the captivity of our hearts or the confinement of our dreams, to where anyone can come hold it in their own hands. A place where Peace can be seen and heard. Where Peace can be joyful, luminous and flowerlike. Where Peace can be free.
Over the years, our growth grew to become a life of living in service with animal-friends and truly respecting their personhood. Living with equality and uplifting autonomy. A life that is a reclamation of love. This has informed the work we do here at Piebird Farm Sanctuary / Vegan Farmstay towards Animal Liberation.
If you are like us, you are ever-striving for more ways that your life can further contribute to your values in a meaningful way. For the last 12+ years, Piebird has been a place that nurtures caring for animal-persons, the world and each other. We live in joyful community with the animal-persons here in this sanctuary family and invite others to come and participate in this life. It’s an atmosphere of inspiration: guests bring their own richness, inspiring us — and hopefully our sharing also sparks something in them as well. Between the guests, the animal-friends who live here and ourselves, it’s a community rich in beauty and celebration — and mutual inspiration that is deep in connection and caring
It is in this spirit of recognizing the transformative power of community that we begin this cooperative living project that will hopefully take the sanctuary into the next phase. We acknowledge the limitations of the conventional sanctuary model to truly assist animal-persons in uplifting themselves from all forms of oppression — and the remedy that we see is community. Simply, sanctuary is not enough anymore. Only by more-broadly communicating that we are living in true community with animal-persons can we together express the kind of equality, interconnectedness, diversity and respect that we need to express.
OPPORTUNITY / RESPONSIBILITY
We all have the responsibility to be building communities that include animal-persons as equals — and we as a sanctuary have the opportunity to begin this vibrant living community now. Communities are catalysts for broader change. Communities are learning grounds that bring together people to imagine, create and actually experience the more just, peaceful and sustainable world they dream of — and the impact of such a community is felt far beyond the sanctuary’s boundaries.
By actually living the world to come, we help transform the world that is. As a sanctuary, we have the opportunity and responsibility to step beyond the theoretical ethics of a moment, and apply the best of them to reality. Ideas become life. Beliefs become breath. Theory becomes energy. Shared ethics become community.
Sanctuary ought to not only fight to end the current domination of humans over other animal-persons, but should also simultaneously begin to build an alternative society characterized by truly-loving and always-respectful relationships with all animal-persons. Interspecies interconnectedness.
SHARING VS. SEPERATION
We are all shaped by the variety of our experiences, but we share more similarities than differences. We live in a culture of separation: competitions in popularity, divisions of ownership, detachment from responsibility. These have consequences on the lenses through which we view the World. The best way to break free of all that is to build community. Creating community is systemic change.
For us, sanctuary has always been about sharing: sharing the enjoyment, sharing the awareness, sharing the exploration — evolving into community means for us to all take a meaningful step backwards and share more.
FREEDOM AND FRIENDSHIP
As a sanctuary we create the space for animal persons to be free — but that isn’t to say that their freedom is something we’ve given to them. Yes, we tear down strife and we uplift — but the liberated raise up their own freedom. None of us give others their freedom, or “rescue” them to their freedom. Their freedom is theirs and they have it within. We just help lift whatever oppressions are holding them down.
Freedom carries with it the responsibility of being part of community. And that commitment means: that our own individual freedom must bloom the freedom of all others too. The freedoms that we ourselves are given require of us to give freedom to all. To uplift.
As ethical vegans, we know veganism to be a necessity. But through our work as sanctuary, veganism become just one step in the long road of truly respecting personhood. Not killing, eating or exploiting someone is really just the least we can do. We can do more. We can see all animal-persons as the sovereign individuals they are. Self-governing and self-determining — each with consent over their own body and life.
The friendships became so much more respectful the more respect we added to them. Such is the nature of friendships. Our sanctuary work became to demonstrate the happy moral certainty of such friendships: a meaningful happiness that gifts meaningful happiness. We envision that community can expand upon this immensely.
CHANGES VIA MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES
The nature of oppression is boring, while the spirit of resistance is inspiring. It’s imaginative. Many of us are naturally attracted to give our efforts to the resistance simply because it is more beautiful. It is there where love lives. It is there where freedom grows. It is there where goodness comes easy. It is there, amid the creative powers of liberty where we do our best work as Piebird Farm Sanctuary. It is there, where we orient ourselves in launching Peacebird Animal Liberation Cooperative.
Love is our creative force. Love enables. Love empowers. Love inspires. Love allows us to embody and express the deliberate creation of Peace. When the energy of our attention is a steady expression of love, the work of bringing about the presence of Peace has more ease to it.
Transformation is a creative act, so in fostering any change we must enable creative transformation. We do our best to be joyful and to have the ideas we embody and represent be welcoming.
We realize that the positive changes we seek (in how we govern ourselves, and in how we may inspire others), these do not often come from the analytical spheres of our being, but rather they come from the poetry of life. Loving example has more followers than prudent reason. With all of the understandings we have and hold shining bright, we create a place of beauty and meaning and love and joy, where participants are invited through self-inspiration to create their own mystical experiences.
SANCTUARY AND COMMUNITY AS REVOLUTION
As a sanctuary, we have to live love loudly, and show what non-exploitative, non-hierarchical relationships look like.
New ideas of peace, justice and love are always germinating, seeking to find their way into the light. As a sanctuary, our felt-responsibility is to give new ideas and new ways a space to be, to allow them to take root in life.
Everywhere, new ideas are opposed by the inertia of the dominate order. Culture has a relentless momentum that is unkind or at least un-noticing to gentle voices of change. Our role is to brighten the space where those voices speak. They are speaking already: The chicken-friends are telling stories of metamorphosis, the goat-friends are humming tunes that tell of shifts, the turkey-friends are singing songs of great transition. Our role is to make it enticing for all to listen. To be present. To participate.
We speak of the true meaning of sanctuary. Not necessarily the popular application of sanctuary. To avoid endless circles of exploitation then reformation, sanctuary should be a true revolution. We all witness dire forms of animal-exploitation be replaced with more-mild forms of exploitation that are still ahead of the status-quo curve but way behind true respect and the equality that’s due. Sanctuary should present a revolutionary vision. Always. We very much see it as a revolutionary project to inspire society to have respectful relationships with all the animal-persons we share this world with.
So sanctuary must be a model of how the revolution could be pursued, and some indication of what to do once we get there.
On the day after the revolution that is Animal Liberation, our communities will need to have been given more tools than only clever tee-shirt phrases and an affinity for cuteness. They will need to have been given the experience as to how relations to animal persons must respect autonomy and individual sovereignty. If the overthrow ends only the exploitation of use and does not gift understandings of equality, then our achievements will be lacking.
It is with these thoughts that we begin this conversation of community. If you are interested in this kind of life then do reach out.
– Yan & Sherry, January 22 2018
Piebird Farm Sanctuary / Vegan Farmstay
113 Chapman’s Landing Rd., Nipissing Ontario P0H 1W0