Non-human animals are mistreated in countless ways all over the planet and sometimes even off the planet. The suffering is immense. One of the most exploited creatures would have to be the horse. Whipped to run. Saddled and harnessed. Left to exposure. Often underfed. Horses, donkeys and ponies are seen as machines to race or work and are routinely disposed of when their usefulness has been sapped dry.
Horses in the Leeds area do however harbour slight hope for a life outside of suffering. Hope Pastures is a sanctuary for horses and ponies that is situated a few miles out of Leeds city centre. Run by a few paid staff and many caring and dedicated volunteers, the sanctuary caters for horses deemed redundant or left for certain death. I visited Hope Pastures yesterday with Bobby and Stuart. We were overwhelmed by the beautiful animals and the compassionate humans working to give them a happy and safe life.
The horses, ponies, donkeys and mules of Hope Pastures are lovingly looked after on a property that has served as a sanctuary for several decades. Horse lover and Hope Pastures yard manager (and fellow vegan) Sophie spared some of her valuable time to speak at length on the horses and sanctuary. We were told of the sad plight the animals endure before finding solace at the site. Sophie informed me of the numerous animals that are turned away due to space restrictions, thus highlighting how widespread the abuse and neglect of horses truly is.
The sanctuary of course requires cash and lots of it to give these beautiful creatures a chance of a dignified existence. Sophie spoke of the staggering cost of bedding and feed needed to get the animals through the winter months. I was intrigued to discover the land on which Hope Pastures is situated is actually leased from Leeds University. Water bills are immense and a lot of money is required to pay for medical treatment, especially for neglected horses and donkeys just arriving at the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is not only a fabulous home for horses, it also serves as an educational opportunity for young people from all across the area. A small classroom is situated near the grooming stables and is filled with drawings created by past visitors. Children who visit have a valuable opportunity to discover what exactly is required to care for a horse and will even learn through hands on experience with jobs such as laying bedding, mucking out and feeding. Hope Pastures also ensure young visitors gain an insight into why horses end up on their sanctuary and the responsibility humans have for caring for the animals.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and would like to throw down a challenge to my FGV readers. Let’s raise some money for Hope Pastures! Adopting a pony or horse for a year costs only £12.50 (AU$20 or US$20) and I think we should easily be able to get 30 kind and compassionate people to donate this amount each. Your donation directly goes to feeding and caring for horses and you will receive a certificate naming the creature chosen by you.
Please visit this link to choose a horse, donkey or pony and make your £12.50 adoption donation now: I want to adopt at Hope Pastures!
Please comment below when you have adopted an animal. I would love to see if we can reach our goal of 30 adoptions. I’m sure we can do this for all the beautiful horses, donkeys, ponies and mules who deserve a happy life at Hope Pastures.
Hope Pastures is open to visitors 7 days a week between 10am and 3pm. They do not charge admission but will of course accept any donation. Check their website for special open day events and fund-raising opportunities.
The Phyllis Harvey Horse & Donkey Trust
Hope Pastures, Weetwood Lane, LEEDS LS16 5PH