Herriman animal sanctuary is stark contrast to ‘Tiger King’
May 11, 2020 11:22AM
By Stephanie Yrungaray
Tony, a happy resident of Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary, smiles for the camera. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Vlam.)
By Stephanie Yrungaray | [email protected]
Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary in Herriman is as polar opposite of the animal park in the “Tiger King” as possible.
Instead of the flashy drama seen in the hit Netflix docuseries, you will find quiet determination. Instead of people exploiting animals for their own gain, you’ll find animals living out their best lives because of the kindness of people.
Established in 1998 on 5 acres of unincorporated Salt Lake County bordering Herriman, the Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary is where farm animals rescued from slaughter settle into their forever home. Housing 150 animals, including many birds, sheep, pigs, goats, cows and horses, owner and executive director Faith Ching and many volunteers are quietly committed to giving these rescued animals the best life possible.
“We get [the animals] from a bunch of different sources,” said Ching. ‘Some are owner surrenders; maybe someone has farm animals they loved, but they’ve lost property and can’t keep them anymore. We get them from all kinds of shelters, we get them from slaughterhouses and even just from the general public.”
With only 5 acres to house the animals and working on the premise of giving the animals enough space, Ching said rejecting animals is one of the most difficult parts of her job.
“It is the hardest thing have to turn down so many animals every week,” said Ching. “It haunts me because I know nothing good is going to happen to them. Most farm sanctuaries are always full, so we are constantly having to make these decisions. We have to look at space though. The animals need to be able to stretch their legs and have a good life.”
Around 69 people volunteer each week to keep the animals fed, watered and taken care of. Ching said the monthly cost to feed the animals runs around $4,500, and since they are a sanctuary, they rely entirely upon donations to pay the bills.
“We rely on donations and fundraisers,” said Ching. “We are entirely funded by the kindness of people’s hearts.”
Coronavirus is affecting future fundraising plans for the sanctuary. Summer fundraisers are canceled, and Ching is worried about people’s ability to donate in the future because of the stumbling economy.
“The fundraisers help raise money and give us exposure,” said Ching. “I’m fearful that in a few months, everybody’s pocketbook is going to be hurting. It is understandable that they might not be able to donate, but is concerning to me.”
Unlike the animal parks in the “Tiger King,” the Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary do not profit from or use their animals for revenue.
“A true sanctuary will not exploit animals in any way shape or form,” said Ching. “Our animals don’t have a job to do to qualify to live here. The animals come first here.”
Even though times are difficult at the sanctuary right now, Ching said they will figure out a way to keep going.
“We will survive no doubt,” said Ching. “I will do whatever I need to do to make sure of that. We will survive.”
If you want to find out more about the sanctuary or help out by sponsoring an animal, you can visit their website at www.chingsanctuary.org or Facebook page @chingsanctuary. You can also donate to the animals through Venmo @chingfarmrescue or PayPal.me/ChingSanctuary.