AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Walking through a breezeway populated by dozens of chickens, some designated as egg layers and others by their assumed fate, broilers, that had been rescued from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, Bauston called each bird by name, clucking at them as they followed her. A flock of curious young turkeys poked their necks through slats in the fence to watch the parade. “Society has stereotyped animals that some are just food,” she said. “We call them farmed animals to set them apart. There are people who keep chickens or cows as pets, and you would never do to a pet what people do to these animals every day.” The sanctuary has a capacity for up to 250 animals and the event is the beginning of a capital campaign to put the property into the nonprofit group’s name. “We want this to be owned by the animals,” she said. As she led visitors on a tour of the grounds, two 4-month old Jersey bulls mooed from a distant field. As she got closer, accompanied by her sidekick and farm dog Duke, one bull she called “Baby” pushed past the dog to give Bauston a sloppy, wet kiss. ACTON – When Lorri Bauston was 16, she announced to her family that she would no longer eat meat – the first step to a lifelong passion of protecting “food with a face” from the slaughterhouse. On Oct. 22, her dream of a local paradise for farmed animals will be realized when Animal Acres, a 26-acre sanctuary, celebrates its grand opening with a free open house featuring barn tours, vegan food booths and music. Later that evening, a vegan banquet gala fundraiser featuring the music of Celtic band Silent Planet will be hosted by actor James Cromwell, famous for befriending a pig in the “Babe” movies. Bauston, 47, the founder and executive director of the sanctuary, sees the facility as a means to an end – of people’s carnivorous habits. “Eating animals is a personal choice,” she said. “But we want to make sure it’s an educated choice.” “We rescued them from a stockyard,” she said as she stroked his amber fur. “They obviously hadn’t had good experiences with people, so we’re trying to change that.” The second baby bull tried to hide, keeping her distance as Baby stood in the spotlight. “Our goal in having this sanctuary is to lead by example. People aren’t cruel by nature and I actually believe we can change minds by educating them.” Bauston said she woke up one morning when she was 16 and announced to her parents that she wasn’t going to eat meat anymore. She went on to dedicate her life to helping expose animal cruelty and advocate on the part of animals. “You’d be surprised, once someone comes here and has an experience with a cow or a pig, they might change their mind about a vegan lifestyle,” she said. “At times the issue can be overwhelming. There are so many things we can’t do anything about, but we can all make a personal choice in what we eat.” She said that both food stores and restaurants are reporting increased sales in vegetarian fare, a trend she hopes to see continue. “Once people start eating healthier, the industry will see and maybe some of the cruelty these animals go through will stop,” she said, noting the compact cages used for sows or genetic manipulation of chickens. Bauston said she knows their battle is uphill, especially because she is going against industries with billion-dollar budgets not only to advertise, but to influence legislation. “We win when we get our message out to the public,” she said. In the future, depending on available funds, Bauston hopes to build a hospital treatment room, increase pasture fencing and obtain an animal transport truck and trailer as well as a tractor and manure wagon to clean barns. On Nov. 19, the group will host a Save the Turkeys Celebration where its flock of turkeys will be guests of honor and the public will feast on a vegan dinner catered by Native Food and Tofurkey. Volunteers are needed to care for animals, conduct tours and assist with outreach events that Bauston hopes to conduct for schoolchildren and visitors to the ranch. Farm chore days are every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and people can work on grounds maintenance, painting and building repairs. Carpenters, plumbers and electricians to complete building projects also are needed. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] IF YOU GO Animal Acres, 5200 Escondido Canyon Road, Acton, will host a free grand opening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, with a fundraiser gala in the evening. Information: (661) 269-0986 or www.animalacres.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!