A Glimpse Into Australia’s Animal Sanctuaries

There are numerous cases all over the world that recount the stories of pigs saving the lives of humans. Pru, for instance, pulled her guardian out of a bog when she was only 4 months old. Priscilla saved an 11 year old boy from drowning when he got out of his depths. Then there’s Lulu, who squeezed through a doggy door, badly scratching her belly, and ran into the street to flag down a car when her guardian had a heart attack. Pigs are also very protective of the humans who guard them. Tunia chased away an intruder who had broken into her home, and another pig, Mona, helped out by holding onto the leg of a burglary suspect while he attempted to escape. These incredible acts are not limited to pigs alone. Time and time again we hear these heroic tales, yet still we abuse and slaughter these animals, paying little respect to their intelligence or loyalty.

These recounts emphasise exactly why it is so important that we take the time to learn about, and support, animal sanctuaries in our country. It is these sanctuaries that shelter animals in need, and ensure their protection and wellbeing.

The number of animal sanctuaries in Australia has been growing rapidly – who would have thought just a few years ago that we would now have all these incredible sanctuaries in our country? These sanctuaries rescue animals from the agricultural industry and look after them for the rest of their lives. Often, these animals come to the shelters in horrific conditions – weak, sick, starved and abused. These sanctuaries fight to save the animals from neglect, abuse and death row. Yet they do so, SO much more than this. They provide these animals with an incredibly high quality of life. They are cared for and loved – unconditionally.

When I visited Deathrow Unchained in QLD, I was lucky enough to spend an entire day getting to know the incredible array of animals that live there. This particular sanctuary specialises in saving animals that would otherwise have been slaughtered or continually abused. They also rehome and save domestic animals, however this work would not be possible without the incredibly passionate volunteers who run the show. Perhaps of all the animals I met that day, I was most touched by Aurora the cow, who was born blind and with hearing in only one ear. She was the sweetest girl, and gave me so much love and affection. This really drove home just how incredible the work being done by our Animal Sanctuaries is.

I have visited a few of these sanctuaries over the last year, and each time I go I feel more passionate about our mission and more inspired to support these amazing organisations. I recently visited Calf Rescue (@calfrescue) and had one of the BEST days, spending over 3 hours with the calves there. I cannot even put into words just how happy I was being able to cuddle and feed these beautiful babies. It really reinforced and made me so grateful that there are people in this world putting in so much time and energy to ensure vulnerable animals have a second chance at life. @calfrescue have already saved 41 baby male calves from the abuse and slaughter of the dairy industry, and have given them the future they deserve.

After my visit I made the decision to sponsor a little calf that I had fallen head over heels in love with. I got to name him Elliot, and for only $40 a week, his comfort and safety is ensured. It’s not much to us – it’s literally the price of some takeaway dinner - yet to them it’s their entire lives. I believe that we have such an important role to play to support the work these organisations are doing.  Many of them are privately run, or non-for-profits, so funding is tight and they are heavily reliant on donations and volunteer work. Because of this, they run at capacity and often don’t have the space or resources to take in more animals in need. They are also operated by a bunch of hardworking, dedicated people who, more often than not, volunteer as a way to help support and improve the lives of these animals. 

Whilst not every animal sanctuary is open to the public, many of them have open days where the visitors are welcome to come and interact with the animals, and learn about their unique, and often horrifically traumatising, stories. It’s great if you can bring your friends and family along too, to help educate people about veganism and the agricultural industry. If you live near an animal sanctuary, you can also contribute your time to help run these homes. Time and money really are two key resources that can drastically change the ability of these sanctuaries to reach more animals and save more lives.

If you’re stuck for a weekend activity, want to make a difference in your community or help out in the life of less fortunate animals, check out your nearest animal sanctuary. Make sure you call them in advance to check when their next open day is – these vary from sanctuary to sanctuary. Your support is vital to the future of these organisations and the lives of these animals – please act now to make a world of difference.

For a list of animal sanctuaries in Australia, please click here or see below: 


New South Wales


South Australia



ACT Area

Western Australia

Dara HayesComment