Petting Zoo: Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary

Farm sanctuaries are very popular and receive financial support from a large variety of individuals in order to cary out their mission to help animals in need and to advocate for animal liberation.

Well established sanctuaries do great work by publicly promoting a compassionate lifestyle and let the animals’ stories be the inspiration and education rather than their mere bodies being a tool for the daily fun of visitors.

Unfortunately, there are some bad apples. Some people with shady pasts decided to open farm sanctuaries to benefit from “free money”. They exploit the caring nature of animal lovers for their personal gain.

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary is a good example to demonstrate what to look out for before you hand over your hard earned money to fraudsters that don’t do anything to help animals on a larger scale and only provide the absolute minimum for the animals in their direct care. They might as well run as a petting zoo and be honest about it.

The following lists some of the most egregious facts surrounding the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary.

1. The Past

Before Diane Marsh and Stephen Wiltshire decided to establish the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary, they bred, bought, sold and exploited horses for human entertainment. They bred horses for hunters and dressage. They do not mention that anywhere publicly. Why were they involved in animal exploitation? What is their opinion on animal exploitation now?

It is quite evident that animals are still used by them to make money, just in a more disguised way. Their retirement plan became an opportunity to use their already purchased animals (from slaughter), to finance their own expenses with some incomplete back stories given.

2. The Breeding

Billions of animals are bred into existence by the meat industry. Millions of unwanted male animals are killed in their infancy because they don’t make milk or lay eggs. Farm sanctuaries around the world try to provide shelter to animals in need and therefore prevent animals in their care to reproduce so the limited resources and space can be utilized most effectively.

Every year there seems to be more new ducks and chickens bred on The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary. The owners don’t seem to consider breeding animals on their property to be a problem and even show them off on social media. Why are there new ducklings and chickens everywhere?


3. Some Animals Are More Important Than Others

One of the main reasons why farmed animals are treated with indifference is the way we humans assign arbitrary moral value to them. The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary seems to only truly care about the bigger animals on their property. The majority of chickens and ducks do not even have names, tags (leg bands) and therefore cannot even be properly accounted for, nobody can find the individuals on their website. There is a clear bias which animals the owners treat preferably.

Also, chickens and ducks are not appropriately protected from wild animals who like to eat them like hawks. There is no netting above the chicken-area to prevent attacks. Apparently some chickens and ducks are hurt by wildlife.

Due to the yearly breeding of more ducks, they lack adequate housing for them, during a cold and snowy winter they say they left the feed room open for shelter. Neither is that appropriate housing nor does it protect the feed from contamination.

Visitors were instructed to “smack” the donkey if she tried to bite. Why create a situation for the donkey and visitors that isn’t good for both parties in the first place?

4. Contaminated Animal Feed

Diane Marsh bragged on social media that she received free animal feed contaminated with bugs. If feed isn’t good enough anymore to be sold, it’s not good enough to be fed to animals that deserve better. Bugs in the feed means that the feed is contaminated with excrements and most likely mold as well. Animals, like humans, are susceptible to mycotoxins and bacteria and must not be fed with contaminated feed.

bugs in feed

5. Feeding Wild Animals

The feeding of wild animals is very problematic and advised against by wildlife protection institutions (just google why not to feed bread to ducks).

Wild ducks are also fed on the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary property with bread among other things. Bread is inappropriate for ducks to consume and can be detrimental to their health and survival.

Why are they asking for financial support to feed wild ducks?  This is yet again another questionable move on their part.

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary is feeding wild rats but at the same time complaining about having a “rat problem”. The rats have access to the chicken coops and the chicken feed inside and outside.

6. Making False Claims

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary claims on their website that it is the first farm sanctuary on the west coast. That is a blatant lie. The Happy Herd is not even a charity, not to mention the first sanctuary.

False claims Happy Herd.png

The following are actual animal farm sanctuary charities and have been established before the Happy Herd Farms Sanctuary:

7. Misappropriation Of Donations

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary claims to put all donations given towards the feed for the animals. Some of that money seems to be disproportionally invested into social media. Their page likes seem to have been purchased in a short period of time several times. How is this helping animals?

The following video shows why it’s a bad idea to purchase likes for Facebook:


8. Animals Purchased From The Industry

Most animals residing on the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary property were purchased from the very industry they pretend to be against. It’s as if a dog rescue organization bought puppies from a puppy mill. All animals deserve a life free from harm, but paying money to the industry that kills animals by the billions to save a life is, as hard as it may sound, perpetuating the problem even further. There are plenty of animals in need of a new home and don’t need to be purchased from the industry to fill their coffers.

animals from auction happy herd

9.  The Language Used To Describe Some Of Their Animals Is Questionable

Diane Marsh often refers to chickens as old and ugly and calls some of the goats “bully boys” or simply “bad goats”. That kind of language is usually only used by animal farmers in order to create an arbitrary moral distance between human animals and non-human animals. Advocates for animal rights know the importance of language in this context.

10. Some Animals Just Disappear Quietly

The following screen shots show animals that have come to the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary but have miraculasly disappeared. Where are they? What has happened to them?

There is an inconsistency of mentioning when an animal dies of old age, disease or is killed by a predator. It seems that just a selected few are worth mentioning.