What about farm sanctuaries?
We are unable to find in all the documents clear acknowledgement of non-productive (and probably charity-supported) farm/sanctuaries run entirely in the interests of animal welfare and care of the environment. We know of one example where the farmers withdrew in disgust from the workings of the dairy/beef/veal job and have saved their cattle and a few other animals from the markets and slaughter. They have eked out earnings from non-farming jobs with donations received from admiring animal welfarists and environmentalists. The farm is, therefore, otherwise non-productive and non-commercial. The conditions are simple but kind in many senses. The farmer/keepers cannot afford expenses for unannounced visits or free access, but they gladly entertain full veterinary inspections, training and treatment.
Court Lodge Farm, Burwash, East Sussex is an example. It is described on our website (which needs some updating; one of the cows has just died aged 42 years old). The numbers are occasionally increased when refugee, straying and unclaimed farm animals are lodged there after discovery by the RSPCA and police.
Such farms have been denied benefits and subsidies enjoyed by farmers rearing livestock for profit. The sanctuaries have to bear the expenditures of precautions against contamination of commercial operations (e.g. BSE and FMD) and - these establishments now being effectively granny-pastures and sheltered housing – the veterinary expenses in care and treatment rather than resort to the knacker or slaughterhouse.
The agri-environment scheme still leaves an omission deserving inclusion in its provisions.
Hon Research Adviser