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Brock Elliott teacher walks to save animals

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Brock Elliott teacher  walks to save animals

Brock Elliott School kindergarten teacher Jennifer Gomez will be participating in Walk for Animals to raise funds for abused farm animals.

MONICA CANE/The Bulletin


POSTED October 20, 2009 4:42 a.m.

Growing up on a ranch Jennifer Gomez spent most of her childhood caring for all sorts of healthy, happy farm animals like sheep, cows, chickens, and rabbits.  

Gomez, having always considered the farm animals her friends, partnered along with being born with cholesterol problems, naturally limited meat from her diet.  However, she didn’t make the actual commitment to becoming a vegetarian until she was a teen, after learning one evening that one of her favorite farm pets, a sheep named “Salt” had been served for the family dinner.  

“I was traumatized.  I didn’t want to eat any type of meat after that” she said.

  Still, concerned with having enough protein in her vegetarian diet Gomez continued to include chicken and turkey on occasion as part of her food regimen until recently when she and her fiancé, Rob, visited a farm sanctuary where they learned about the abuse many farm animals, including chickens and turkeys suffer.    

  The Farm Sanctuary, which has shelters in California and New York, rescues, rehabilitates and cares for abused farm animals.  Touring the shelter in California revealed to Gomez that not all animals are treated with love and care as were the animals on her farm.  Many animals, particularly those being raised for the purpose of being butchered, are severely mistreated as if their final purpose means they do not deserve humane treatment.  

“The one thing I learned visiting the Farm Sanctuary is the horrible abuse that some farm animals endure,” she said. “It was an eye-opening experience for me because I had always thought that some farm animals got abused but I didn’t really want to face it because I knew it would be very hard to handle.”   

  Visiting the sanctuary caused a mixture of emotions for Gomez beginning with great sadness as she witnessed first-hand how many of the abused animals, although now rescued, still suffered long-lasting effects from the abuse they endured.  Nevertheless, her sadness turned to joy and hope when informed of the many efforts the organization goes through to place ill- treated animals in a cruelty-free environment in order to live a good life no matter what the final outcome.    

  Having been educated by the farm sanctuary on the nature of neglected and abused animals, Gomez, a kindergarten teacher at Brock Elliott Elementary school, has been able to recognize some similarities.  

“I do see a lot of similarities between students and animals that have been abused.  You never know what each one has been through,” Gomez said. “Animals may have been abused while students may be having a rough time at home, with friends, or siblings.  Animals and students crave love, compassion, and attention. [Both] have a huge amount of trust in “humans/adults” even though they may have been hurt in the past.  [Both] are very resilient to adversity.”

While Gomez does not share the details of the horrific abuse some animals experience with her young students for obvious reasons, she does share her compassion and understanding about all living creatures needing love and support which all students understand.  

One of the ways Gomez is demonstrating her love and concern for animals is by participating in the upcoming Walk for Animals event which will be held in San Francisco on Oct. 24. Participants hope to raise enough money to continue the fight against animal mistreatment and support the efforts of the Farm Sanctuary.

 To make an online donation to Walk for Animals visit www.firstgiving.com/jennifergomez or to learn more about ending animal abuse visit the Farm Sanctuary www.FarmSanctuary.org.


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