Save Goats from Slaughter
Last year we purchased 318 goats from a livestock auction near Stockton, California. Except for one family who purchased one goat, all of the other bidders were ranchers and meat farmers who were looking to purchase animals for slaughter.
(Goats at the livestock auction.)
We released these goats to a small family-owned business called Goats R Us. Terri and Aegon are the founders of Goats R Us and they have spent their whole lives saving and taking care of animals. Their family owns multiple ranches and over 10,000 goats! These goats "work" by clearing vegetation around the Bay Area to prevent wildfires.
In 2017, a total of 9,133 fires burned 1,381,405 acres in California. The goats that we rescue will spend their lives grazing on the beautiful Californian hillsides, working to to prevent more deadly fires in the future.
(Goats R Us goats, happily grazing in Hercules, California. Photo by Selena Hao)
Terri and Aegon so kindly agreed to give these goats a good home, to provide them with experienced care and regular medical attention. Goat R Us transports their goats to different areas around the San Francisco Bay Area to clear brush on the Californian hillsides.
Later when the goats "retire," they will roam and graze on Terri, Aegon, and their family's beautiful land. When these goats become elderly, they will not be sold and killed for their meat. They will be given the best of medical care and allowed to live out their natural lives. Terri and Aegon's ranch is also home to Tibetan yaks, a camel, llamas, ducks, sheep, chickens, rabbits, cats, pigs, as well as specially trained dogs that protect these animals from wild predators.
Last year we were able to save 318 goats!
Together we were able to raise over $34,000 to save these goats!
This year we want to save as many goats as we can!
Goats R Us has kindly offered us the use of their livestock trucks so that we can safely transport as many animals as we need.
Please give whatever you can to support this worthy cause. These goats will certainly be killed otherwise.
Last year we paid an average of $150 for each goat. We will be purchasing the goats from auction where they are sold by the pound, so the price may vary from to goat to goat.
Please give whatever you are able to.
Your donations will be tax-deductible.
Also you can help by sharing our fundraising page and spreading the word!
With the funds that we collect, we will save as many goats as we are able to purchase. If there is any money left over, we will save it for next year's release and we will also make a small donation to Goats R Us to help with the goats' vaccinations and medicines.
This year’s goat release is tentatively planned for the beginning of September.
If you would like to contribute, please consider donating well before that date to give us time for the funds to be cleared and collected from GoFundMe.
(Last year's goat release with Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche leading prayers for the rescued animals and all sentient beings.
Last year's release would not have been possible without the blessings and support of His Holiness Kathok Getse Rinpoche, who also contributed a large amount of his own funds to our cause. Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche initiated this campaign and thanks to his blessings, constant support and tireless effort we were able to save these animals from certain death. Of course, these releases would not have been possible without the kindness and hard work of Terri and Aegon’s family and the folks at Goats R Us, who gave these rescued goats a wonderful home and loving care and helped us at every step of the way. Terri and Aegon also contributed their own funds to this cause. A heartfelt thank you to Lynda Isenberg for her deep generosity and kindess . A very deep thank you to our many kind donors and supporters, together we were able to save 318 goats by raising $34,000.!
Please consider donating this year so that we may save many more lives from slaughter.
Your donation will save innocent animals from being slaughtered and allow them to live out their lives with excellent care and medical attention. These goats will "work" to prevent deadly wildfires in California by grazing the hillsides, reducing brush and overgrowth of vegetation.
Thank you so much and may all beings benefit.
(Some of the happy goats that were saved last year!)
A video of last year's release.
This story begins last Friday at the livestock auction where we purchased goats for our life-release led by the Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche.
In front of the auction house were about 100 goats in a large outdoor pen. As we walked alongside the fencing, one small brown goat with white spots came right up to us and started following us. The further we walked, the more it followed us. This goat was so friendly and sweet. Terri decided then and there that we were going to buy that goat and some of her friends from that pen. I thought it would be nice to name her Tashi, which means auspicious or lucky in Tibetan.
We stayed with Tashi for a while, stroking her head and talking to her. She loved the attention. Then we told her that we’d be seeing her later when we take her home. Hours later, as the auction progressed, we realized that we hadn’t seen any of the goats that were penned outside come through, including Tashi. Terri sent her family to check on the situation and they found out that Tashi and her group had been pre-sold to a meat-packing company.
A man named Freddie, who works for another meat-packing company, was kind enough to help Terri track down Tashi’s owner. He assured her that he was friends with this man and that he could convince him to sell us Tashi and a few other goats if Terri and Nikki could make the long drive back up to the auction-house on Sunday. This all happened during the auction itself. The animals were coming through fast and we were doing our best to focus with all that chaos and noise. We were trying not to miss any animals that we could save. Animals were screaming in fear as they were driven through the loud mechanized doors. The auctioneer was rattling off numbers at lightning-speed while the handlers were pushing the scared animals though the auction block with loud sorting paddles that they used to hit the floor or sometimes to hit the terrified animals themselves.
We left the auction house that night with 327 rescued goats and sheep. We arrived back at Goats R Us’s land and let the animals into their new pen which was stocked with food and clean water in the peaceful beautiful hills of Lafayette. The next day, many friends came together and we gave the animals blessed substances and said prayers for them and all sentient beings. Then we shared food and picnicked with the happy goats and sheep amidst the rolling golden hills under the vast blue sky.
On Sunday, Terri and Nikki made the long drive back to the auction house. When they arrived, they looked everywhere for Tashi but they couldn’t find her.
They were sadly informed by Freddie that the meat-packers had come through the night before and had taken 50 goats to slaughter.
Terri would not accept this answer. She pleaded with him. She asked him to call and check. She showed him pictures of Tashi. She tried to explain that she was a very special goat and that he had to help her.
He sadly replied that when these people take goats, the goats are immediately killed. He gently chided her, she of all people should know this. Freddie told them that Tashi was already gone.
Terri and Nikki were heartbroken. They looked around at the goats that were left in the pen and they chose 45 goats to save from the same fate, in honor of Tashi. Some of these goats were injured and sick but they decided to bring them home anyway. They left the auction house with 45 rescued goats.
As they were driving back, they said that they dreaded making the call to me. They knew how devastated I would be. Terri thought sadly about Tashi’s friendliness and how she was so quick to approach us and follow us. Terri thought that she had likely approached the men who had come to slaughter her in the same way.
Then suddenly Terri’s phone rang.
It was Freddie. For a moment, they were stunned and wondering why he would be calling now. Then they answered the call and Freddie told them the news.
Tashi was alive.
The night before, when the meat packers had come for her, she must have hid far back in the corner of the pen away from all the other goats. And so she was missed when they came to take her and those poor other goats to slaughter. Then it’s not clear how this happened, but somehow she escaped. She either jumped her fence or somehow got out unnoticed as the other goats were being loaded. The workers at the auction-house were astonished as this had never happened before. Their fencing is supposed to be strong and secure and her escape had gone unnoticed.
Tashi had made it across the fence but she was vulnerable to predators, especially coyotes who frequent that area. Yet she survived through the night and after Terri and Nikki had sadly driven off, she came back.
Terri says that Tashi knew she was missing her ride. And so, Freddie had found her outside of the fence. She was exhausted after her ordeal and Freddie was amazed and overjoyed at finding her.
Nikki turned immediately around and drove back to the auction house. Terri had to remind her to keep under the speed limit as they were so eager to see Tashi and to bring her home.
After Tashi was safely loaded onto the truck and on her way home with the other new goats, Terri and Nikki called me to relate this heart-wrenching story and to share the joyful news.
Lingtrul Rinpoche and I met with them shortly after they arrived on their land, where the goats we had rescued before were penned. The new goats were given blessed substances and more prayers were recited.
These new goats were introduced to their goat and sheep friends that were rescued two days before. We spent $10,120 to save these new goats as we had to buy them from a meat-packer and many of these goats were quite large and usually sold by the pound.
Everyone was so happy because of this dramatic and incredible rescue. Tashi truly lived up to her name. She and all her new goat and sheep friends are incredibly lucky.
Thanks to Terri, Nikki, Egon, Zephyr and the Goats R Us family and crew and to our kind donors and supporters we now have saved 373 goats and sheep.
And of course, deep gratitude to our beloved teacher Lingtrul Rinpoche for his kindness, love, and compassion. Without your blessings and constant guidance, none of this would be possible.
Rejoicing in this great accumulation of merit for all beings. ❤
The following day, prayers were led by Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche and his friend Jamyang Rinpoche who was visiting from Hong Kong. The animals were given blessed substances and then left to eat, drink, and run around in their huge pen in the beautiful golden hills of Lafayette.
On the following Sunday, another 46 goats were saved. bring our total saved animal count to 373! This is quite an amazing story and deserves a post to itself. I will post the story after this update.
The work has only begun for Terri, Egon, Zephyr, Nikki, and all the workers and friends of Goats R Us Company. Actually, the work for them has never stopped. These kind people work so hard everyday to take care of animals. Yet for the next two weeks and more, they will be very busy, sorting, giving medication and taking care of these new goats. As Lingtrul Rinpoche said, we have to thank these people from our hearts because without them, we would not be able to save even one life.
Gratitude to all our kind teachers. His Holiness Kathok Getse Rinpoche has donated $10,000 US to our life release efforts. Jamyang Rinpoche came with us to the auction and helped during the ceremony and contributed $7000 US. Lingtrul Rinpoche began these life-releases and has since worked tirelessly and directed this activity with his loving-kindness and compassion.
Thank you so much to our donors. Lynda Isenberg who always generously supports life-release. Jin Xing and Lizzie Woon both organized large group donations from Singapore. Iron Knot Ranch, Chagdud Rinpoche’s center in New Mexico (led by the kind Lama Shenpen) generously donated $6000. The Tibetan community donated generously and brought food and help during the ceremony. Lingtrul Rinpoche’s family and many sangha friends helped and brought food to the ceremony as well.
Thank you to all our kind sponsors and donors. There are too many of you to list individually but thank you from our hearts. This was a huge group effort and achievement. May all beings benefit.
Tomorrow a small group will go to the auction to buy the goats and our goat life release ceremony is happening this Saturday, the 29th at 10AM.
Everyone is welcome to the ceremony. Join us and the goats for prayers and a potluck lunch. Please bring food or drinks to share. Children are welcome too! Kindly send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on bringing kids.
We are meeting on the corner of Happy Valley Road and Bear Creek Road, Lafayette, California.
Hope to see you there! :)
I’m very happy to share some great news. His Holiness Kathok Getse Rinpoche has donated $10,000 towards our life release. Last year, H.H. Getse Rinpoche also donated the same amount to save goats as well as providing sacred substances used to bless the animals during the ceremony.
Also, a few months ago I was able to visit some of the goats that we saved last year at the Goats R Us Ranch. During this visit, I learned that after our life release last year, Terri and her family returned to the livestock auction and saved another 300 goats! The goats that we saved last year effectively helped them to generate an income which enabled them to save more goats.
Many of these goats that they saved this time were pregnant mama goats. Terri, Egon and their family were kept very busy welcoming new baby goats into this world. During this visit, I was able to meet a lot of these adorable baby goats. Terri was kind enough to take photos. I was also able to meet the three pigs that members of our sangha ransomed last December. The pigs were lively, happy, and well. I also saw our special goat, Rama Gyalmo, the first goat that we saved last year. She looked so happy and healthy and now has a husband and many other goat friends that she spends her days with.
Then, at the beginning of last month on June 1st, our friend Tsamree and the Tibetan community organized another life release with Goats R Us during the auspicious period of Saga Dawa. The Tibetan community raised $14,000! At the auction, Terri and Egon spent over $30,000 of their own money to “fill up the truck” as they said! That day we left with 304 goats that were saved from slaughter! Later that night Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche and Venerable Tulku Padga Rinpoche led prayers for the newly-freed goats and all sentient beings.
If you are thinking of donating to this wonderful cause, please do not hesitate. The goats that we saved together last year have effectively helped Terri, Egon, and their family to save over 600 more goats since that time.
During my visit, I was struck by the sheer amount of effort, work, and love that goes into taking care of these animals. Terri and her family work almost non-stop because of their great love and compassion for animals. I really can’t begin to express my appreciation for Terri, Egon, Zephyr, Nikki, and all the workers at Goats R Us Company. During this visit, I saw how hard they all worked. Feeding, giving medicine, and caring for these animals is a full-time job for MANY people. This family has really devoted their lives to taking care of animals. These life releases would not be possible without their constant hard work to care for these animals. They have such big hearts and it really shows.
Information about this year’s life release:
The date for our life-release this year has been set for Sept 28th and 29th. On the 28th, a small group will go to the auction and purchase the goats and bring them back to Goat R Us’s land. The ceremony itself will happen in the AM on the 29th.
As of today, we have raised about $24,100 for this year’s release!
These life releases have been successful due to the blessings of our kind teachers. His Holiness Kathok Getse Rinpoche’s immeasurable kindness and generosity have made it possible to save these beings from slaughter. Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche's wisdom intent and profound compassion were the seed that began these life releases. Since that time, that seed has flourished and blossomed due to Lingtrul Rinpoche's blessings, continual guidance, and effort.
Thank you to our wonderful donors and supporters. Without all of you, this would not be possible. Your kindness and generosity help to save poor, innocent goats from certain death.
A large group from Singapore has donated $3442 US dollars this year. Thank you so much to our kind friends from overseas. We are so happy to be able to connect with you from afar and to work together to save lives. May all beings benefit from your generosity.
Also, deep gratitude goes to Lynda Isenberg who has donated $3000 towards this year’s life-release. Lynda has been donating continuously towards life-release efforts. Her kindness and generosity have helped to save many lives.
My deep heart-felt thanks to everyone.
May all beings benefit.