After 10 years of rescuing farmed animals and giving humans the chance to get up close and personal with them, OohMahNee Farm is closing the barn door. The mostly volunteer-run nonprofit sanctuary housed hundreds of animals on 263 acres in Hunker, Pa. and the costs of keeping them all fed and healthy finally became too much.
"It was a hard decision to make," says co-founder Jason Tracy. "People are having trouble sending money to support causes like Katrina -- it's hard enough to get support for farm animals."
The sanctuary, incorporated in 2000, garnered international attention for rescuing animals from neglect or abuse. In 2003, they transported more than 1,000 hens from Buckeye Egg Farm in Croton, Ohio to the sanctuary after the egg farm had been ordered to close barns after health violations. In 2000, the same farm was damaged by a tornado, and OohMahNee adopted 3,500 of their hens.
"We've done so many large rescues over the years," Tracy says. "It's been hard placing all the animals."
Except for nine roosters, all the sanctuary's animals have a place to go. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY is currently raising funds to build a barn for OohMahNee's sheep and goats. Most of the cows are going to Montana Large Animal Sanctuary in Hot Springs. Two other Pennsylvania sanctuaries, plus one in Michigan and one in Massachusetts, are taking the rest of the animals.
"People found a wonderful part of themselves at that sanctuary," co-founder Cayce Mell says. "We have no regrets. We were there for a lot of animals."