There’s a special place in the Valley where farm animals are free to breathe fresh air without fear for the future.
Oscar Hernandez’s vision became a reality on this patch of land in Los Indios, not far from the border.
According to Hernandez, ” A lot of people think very negative of Valley people and how way we treat animals and we just want to show them for sure it can be done here.”
He’d become horrified with the conditions livestock face at factory farms, so two years ago he bought a group of animals from a truck headed to the slaughterhouse.
A goat named Cinnamon was one of his first purchases.
At first glance, this may look like your typical farm but all these animals are destined to live out their natural lives right here.
The RGV Farm Sanctuary has been around for a year and is now home to about 70 animals and most, including the cows, have names.
Hernandez, who’s the proprietor remembers them all as he recognizes Cookie, Cookies and Cream, Daisy, Bella, Melody, Oreo, Martha, Harmony and Dalia.
There’s also a pair of pigs raising an energetic group of newborns.
Then there’s the flock of Pekin ducks. They share space with some loud roosters and nesting hens along with some cute and quiet bunnies, a precious pair of donkeys, several horses including one who’s found a comfortable corral after being surrendered by his owner and a boisterous sheep, enough goats for a parade led by sanctuary caretaker Ricardo Ramirez.
“These guys just just want to have a nice life and they’re pretty friendly. They don’t hurt anyone, they don’t need to be on anybody’s plate. Can they, yes….is it necessary, absolutely not. Is it cruel? Absolutely,” says Hernandez.
Right now it’s a work in progress but there are big plans for the future including opening the farm for vegan themed events and converting shipping containers into places for people to stay for a few nights
“One of the main goals is to provide an opportunity for people to realize that these are sentient, beautiful beings and they’re not food,” said Hernandez
A billboard just off the interstate in San Benito has helped raise interest in the facility but also brought negativity.
According to Hernandez, “People have sent me messages like we’re going to kill your animals and eat them. We’re not trying to stop anyone from eating meat we just want to show them there’s a better way.”
For now, the sanctuary is open for visitors on Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. until sundown.
There’s no charge for admission but if you want to bring a bag of food like cracked corn to help feed the animals they’d be happy to accept it
For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.