For many years, Gentle World volunteers have been searching for the ideal location for the expansion of our vegan educational program in Hawaii. During this time, we have been limited by our two acres of space, even as the number of visitors seeking to participate in our program increases.
Now, we are elated to announce that thanks to a generous philanthropic loan, we are the proud custodians of 34 acres of magnificent countryside, in the foothills of the Kohala Mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii.
This extraordinary land has stunning mountain and ocean views, a temperate climate all year round, the deepest soil in the state, and enough room, water, sunshine and just the right elevation to grow everything from coconuts to soybeans. It is ideal as a location for plant-based food production and a model of environmental responsibility, in a world whose need for both becomes greater all the time.
Here is where we hope to realize our vision of VeganLand: an oasis of peace for the vegan in everyone, in the international hub that is Hawaii.
Phase One is already well underway with the relocation of five rescued cows from Magical Creatures of Hamakua Sanctuary, and we’re excited to share updates, photos and videos of these wonderful beings through our blog, Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube.
In Phase Two, our aim is to build on the work we have done at our New Zealand location, by turning these 34 acres into a demonstration model for the production of sustainable veganic foods, including farm-sourced fertilizer to replace the animal-based inputs that typical organic agriculture relies on so heavily.
In Phase Three, we aim to incorporate the provision of veganic education to future farmers, while dedicating VeganLand’s excess produce to meet the needs of our area’s most vulnerable populations.
Magical Creatures of VeganLand
VeganLand’s very first residents are five cows whose stories of rescue will provide for many their first insight into how dairy farming victimizes the individuals involved.
The dairy these girls were rescued from was closed because local Big Island residents complained about the filth washing out of the facility and into the surrounding waterways. When its operations ceased, thousands of cows and calves were shipped around the islands to be relocated at other dairies, or simply sent to slaughter.
Alessandra Ruper-Weber and the Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network worked tirelessly to raise thousands of dollars in order to buy as many of them as they could. They kept cows together with their calves wherever possible, but sometimes the calves were not able to be rescued along with their mothers. On one of the seven rescue days, 61 motherless calves were removed from the dairy and transported around the island to loving homes arranged for by Alessandra and her team.
Bella, Naevia, Anela, Mirijam, and Iolana had nowhere to go other than to Magical Creatures, but the sanctuary’s 18 acres couldn’t provide the space they will ultimately need. We feel privileged to be able to offer them refuge, and we are grateful to Magical Creatures for keeping them as official residents of the sanctuary, with our grazing land as an extension of their operations.
These girls were bred into existence by the dairy for the specific purpose of taking their mothers’ milk for profit. Most VeganLand visitors will be learning for the first time that their male counterparts would have been taken from their mothers to be sent to slaughter soon after birth. Known by the industry as ‘replacer females,’ these five would have been expected to take the place of their mothers in the production line, once their mothers’ milk production declined.
Their rescuers found them at barely two months old, fed by bottles and buckets mounted on cell walls, with no grass or even earth underfoot; their hooves standing on the wire floors of their cages. Their mothers were confined in a milking shed nearby, out of sight or smelling range. When the cages were opened, the calves touched the ground for the first time in the eight weeks since they were tagged and thrown in prison. As is to be expected after weeks of such confinement, they could hardly walk, and many slipped on the concrete when trying to run.
On the day these girls were rescued, Helena deliberately picked out five of the scrawniest looking babies, knowing they would require extra care and attention. Anela arrived with a massive abscess on her throat, Mirijam suffered from a joint infection, and Naevia had a bad eye infection. But over their months of being loved and cared for at Magical Creatures, the girls grew strong and healthy, and today they are happy and thriving.
As always, we are beyond grateful for the support provided by our friends and readers. We look forward to sharing photos and updates, as we welcome these beautiful beings onto a piece of land dedicated to the vision of a world where every one of their kind will be treated with the dignity and respect they so clearly deserve.