Tortured, abused, abandoned animals find refuge on İzmir farm in Turkey’s west
İdris Emen – İZMİR
More than 700 animals including cows, goats, cats, dogs and rabbits, which have been abandoned, abused or are disabled have had the chance to begin a new chapter in their lives after being taken in by Sibel Çağlar on Turkey’s first farm sanctuary in the western province of İzmir.
Yet, some are certain to get the fast pass.
“We make a concession to animals that were abused or have seeing difficulties or other disabilities because it is not possible for them to survive on their own,” Çağlar said.
“We provide their treatments, too,” she added.
Çağlar, who since her childhood had an urge to lend a hand to animals, was working in the field of maternal and children’s health in Ankara when the seed for the project was first planted.
The sanctuary grew into the giant refuge it is now, when the initial project in Ankara faced the need for growth as a result of the increasing number of incoming animals, so they moved to the farm to the countryside in the west.
“[The villagers] came to get milk from the sanctuary. I told them we don’t have milk. They then suggested we slaughter them if there’s no milk,” she said.
“One day, the village butcher could not find an animal to slaughter, so he came to grab our bull. I told him that the bull is like our children and that we wouldn’t give it away. So, the villagers first thought I had lost it,” Çağlar added.
Yet, Çağlar helped raise awareness in the neighborhood with her project.
“They then got used to it,” she said.
“When their service period is over, they are either abandoned or shot. When these animals are sent into nature, they are considered ‘freed.’ Actually, it’s just another way of killing them. They are not any different than cats and dogs,” she said.
To finance the project, they go on charity sales and sell products at organic bazaars, she said.
Yet, Çağlar said, this cycle alone is not what she sees for the future of the project.
“I want to establish farm sanctuaries in Istanbul, Ankara and a city in the east,” she said.
“We are running out of space here,” said Çağlar.