Rachel McCrystal—executive director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, which rescues farmed animals and provides refuge for them, now housing around 400 animals—recalls a childhood marked by a houseful of animals, featuring a preponderance of rattlesnakes and other reptiles (her biologist dad was a herpetologist). McCrystal points to two pivotal moments in those formative years that presaged her work on animals’ behalf: 1) adopting a little mutt bearing a “Do Not Adopt” sign. This dog became “the love of her life,” McCrystal says; 2) In Cape Cod, as an 11-year-old, she was horrified to learn how lobsters are cooked, declared she’d eat shrimp instead, her dad explained more animals would die for that meal, and she decided to become vegetarian. (She later became vegan.) She explains how some of the jobs she held in college lent her the expertise and experience, at 24, to land a development job at the Pennsylvania SPCA. McCrystal rose quickly there and elsewhere—two motifs of her saga appear to be a flair for fundraising and rapid career ascension (she mocked herself for tending to be promoted too soon) –landing at Best Friends Animal Society, as Major Gifts Manager. Noting Best Friends is a prominent national organization with a stellar reputation, and that a good, well-compensated career was assured, she addresses how, seven-eight years into being began, and with a growing commitment to helping mitigate the plight of farmed animals—she took a development job (and a pay cut) at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. McCrystal subsequently became executive director of the Sanctuary, in the wake of the departure of founders Jenny Brown and Doug Abel—a highly unusual development in the sanctuary world…McCrystal spends a few minutes touching on the reasons for their departure, and the singularity of the situation. She also discusses some the animals living at the Sanctuary, and how they got there, including Mike Jr, a steer that escaped a truck en route to the slaughterhouse, but now happily resides at Woodstock. (http://woodstocksanctuary.org)
ALSO: I spoke with Dina Athanassie, Outreach & Events Manager for the Animal Coalition of Tampa about free TNVR (trap-neuter-vaccinate-return) training sessions they’re conducting in the coming weeks. (http://actampa.org)
COMEDY CORNER: Matt Braunger’s “Owls” (http://www.mattbraunger.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.
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