Argyle, a steer, and Magnolia, a drawf cow, are both living at Sweet Farm, a farm animal sanctuary in Half Moon Bay.
"We have animals that have come out of all sorts of situations. They came from factory farms, abuse cases, abandonment, even cockfighting rings," said Nate Salpeter, who co-founded Sweet Farm with Anna Sweet. "Sometimes it takes a year or two years for them to trust humans again and for their personality to come back out."
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The farm has all the animals you would find in a storybook farm. There are cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks and a horse. There is even a llama named Paco. Most of the animals have names. They also have fans from all over the world.
Thanks to @TheSweetFarm goat-2-meeting, the @polsource crew had some remote fun on the farm this afternoon! Thanks for the virtual tour! #polsource #sweetfarm #virtualhappyhour #familyfun https://t.co/HXMrB1lFV6 pic.twitter.com/Kfq9MEu7SZ— PolSource (@polsource) April 23, 2020
Sweet Farm usually hosts school groups on field trips, but when the stay-at-home order took effect, the farm was left without visitors. So they found a way to stay connected. Salpeter and Sweet created Goat-2-Meeting, a service that lets the public sign up for a virtual visit from an animal.
"We have corporate groups calling in to their company coffee breaks. People have us calling in to their birthday parties," said Salpeter as he approached a group of goats to begin one of the sessions.
Sweet Farms charges companies for a ten to 25 minute the moment of zen and uses the money to pay for school groups to keep visiting the farm for free.
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Salpeter hopes the service will see animals in a different light.
"A lot of people have not had the chance to look up close at the eyes of a cow or a pig. They see that interaction between our Argyle the steer and Magnolia the dwarf cow. The two of them grooming one another. People say my dog does the same thing. And that's when people start to draw that connection between what is on their plate and other animals," adds Salpeter.
Did you know that Sheep have very good memories? They can remember at least 50 individual sheep and humans for years. pic.twitter.com/eb1mCHkSkd— Sweet Farm (@TheSweetFarm) July 28, 2019
The animals are pressured to participate in the video chats. If they want to wander away, they can. But some, like Butterscotch, a goat who was saved from slaughter, likes to get close enough to rub against a visitors leg or for a good scratch between the ear.
"The animals are out here, living their best life."
Butterscotch would agree.
For more information about the Goat-2-Meeting program, visit the Sweet Farm website.