Some lawyers may not have the best reputations around, but John Friske is no ordinary lawyer. During the weekdays, John is an environmental lawyer who works hard to protect the earth from pollution and those who cause it. Outside of his work hours, he dedicates his time to rescuing and helping animals. Not only did he establish the San Diego Farm Animal Rescue, but it is run out of his home.
This incredible journey all started when he watched a documentary called Cowspiracy, which unveiled the devastating impact that the meat industry has on both the environment and the animals. Within a year of that time, John opened up his home to eight animals of four different species.
The very first member of his sanctuary was Daisy, a Southern California German shepherd rescue.
Then came Emma, an American quarter horse. “She came to me because her family couldn’t ride her anymore,” John explained. “People aren’t really in the market for a 26-year-old horse, so, instead of going to slaughter, her owners wanted a good home to put her in.”
Shortly after that, two American paint horses joined the ever-growing family. The latest two members had grown up together, so they were inseparable in their new home. Emma, on the other hand, kept to herself during that time.
One day, the couple who had brought Emma to the sanctuary returned with another American quarter horse, Pokey. John immediately reunited the two friends in an open pasture, where they would be able to run and play together to their hearts’ content.
“Once Pokey came, they had their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship back,” John commented. “Now he protects her, and she’s the first one to eat.”
Since the two were reunited, Emma has been treated like a queen. “If she wants to get the best shade spot, she’ll get the best shade spot, because Pokey stands guard and makes sure that she’s taken care of,” John added.
Another lovable member of the sanctuary is Roosevelt, a pig who walks with a limp because of his deformed hooves.
He was named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Not long ago, John also built a chicken coop to house two hens, Eleanor and Amelia.
For John, his work with these animals is more than just rescuing them from suffering or death – it’s about erasing the line that separates humans from animals. “We believe the connection between animals and humans reveals the true nature of both, and the distinctions among species are blurred as humans discover their capacity for compassion,” he wrote in his mission statement.
“Every day, our intention is to rescue, educate, and advocate for the ethical and compassionate treatment of all animals.”
On top of the meaningful work that he is doing for these animals, John is also educating the public about the importance of compassion and humane treatment of animals. “At SDFAR, our educational experiences teach children, adults, and families about compassion for all animals,” he wrote on his site. “Learning through action at SDFAR gives everyone an opportunity to connect with horses, goats, chickens, and other animals in a unique, hands-on experience.”
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