The Little Red Barn sanctuary

Hon. Myrna Driedger, Broadway Journal
Hon. Myrna Driedger

Broadway Journal

How surprising to find this amazing Animal Sanctuary right in our back yard in Charleswood. I was delighted to be able to visit this sanctuary recently and was surprised to learn just how many farm animals are rescued when they are no longer considered profitable or worth having. Thanks to Jessica Walker, a young student, this little red barn micro sanctuary was founded on the beliefs and values that farm animals are “ someone”, not “something”. It is home to a variety of rescued animals who were otherwise destined for slaughter. Their primary focus is teaching compassion and empathy through knowledge and personal interactions. Founded in 2019, then opened to the public in 2020, The Little Red Barn is home to dozens (hundreds at times) of farm animals and they have rescued over 10,000 animals in just a few years.

While visiting the sanctuary, it is notable that horses, cows, pigs, and goats are just as interested in approaching humans as what we consider to be usual “pets”. The horse was jealous of the attention we were giving to the cow and tried to nudge his way in and nudge the cow out. The horses responded to us, even allowing some of the little girls with us the opportunity to “braid” their hair. Lucy and George, the resident pigs seemed to enjoy being brushed also.

While there, we were told about Scotty, a 25-year-old Belgium draft gelding, who was rescued. Since arriving at the Little Red Barn, he was learning to enjoy human companionship, being spoiled, and fussed over with brushings and hugs. He was a workhouse prior to coming here and was worked to the bone his whole life. He recently became quite ill with a bowel impaction and was being treated by a local vet. Everyone was hoping that he would get better, but we just heard that he didn’t make it and passed away on the weekend. One of the other horses, Tucker, was his special friend and never left his side. Horses are such sensitive family members.

A visit to the Little Red Barn sanctuary

By opening their barn to children, they like them to recognize that the residents are different colours, sizes, genders, ages, and species that form lifetime family bonds with each other. All farm animals have the same relationships. The Little Red Barn sanctuary operates independently with donations and volunteer support. Through empathy and compassion, they bridge the disconnect between individuals and farm animals for a kinder world. In the past year alone, they have connected farm animals with over 1500 children and their families personally.

What began with saving two piglets, George and Lucy, and a visit to a local school to educate them about factory hog farming, has led to dozens of farm animals being saved from slaughter and thousands of people being educated through tours, social media, rescues, published research, interviews, media articles and schools. While their primary focus is educating the public about farm animals and their lives in factory farms, they also participate in frontline animal rescue, sanctuary partnerships, animal welfare committees and promotion of sustainable, healthy lifestyles with the hope of creating a better world for animals, people, and the environment.

Molly is a rescued cow living a wonderful life among friends at the Little Red Barn Sanctuary. She gets a chance to use her maternal instincts with the first calf she gets to keep. They rescued Molly after serving in the dairy industry for years, providing a forever home where she gave birth to Rooney, the first baby she will keep. Molly is a phenomenal mother, even nursing an orphan calf along with Rooney.

If you are interested in helping Jessica and her family in their quest to save the lives of hundreds of farm animals, giving them a proper home in their next chapter of their lives, I encourage you to donate to their cause or volunteer. While we were there, we saw a group of volunteers cleaning out the barns and doing many other tasks that need to be done. The list is endless.

By teaching empathy and compassion through knowledge and personal/virtual interaction, they are promoting a generation of children who can make the connection that farm animals are sentient beings, capable of love, friendship, grief, intelligence pain, fear, joy, sadness and humor. What began as a Grade 8 science project for Jessica led to the creation of this wonderful sanctuary. With the help of her family, she is showing us that a little light can affect the world around us. Sometimes the injustices we see in the world can be overwhelming. But the importance of youth activism is instrumental in creating hope for a better world for animals, people, and the environment.

For further information, or to donate or volunteer, please visit their website at “”

It was such a pleasure to meet Jessica and her human family as well as her animal family. I would like to send out a huge thank you to them for what they do.

Hon. Myrna Driedger is MLA for Roblin and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.