British Columbia

New animal sanctuary opens in B.C. — and it's already full

Jaye Dueck has been dreaming of having her own farm and animal sanctuary for five years, and now she's made that a reality with the newly opened Eden's Farm and Recovery Sanctuary near Kamloops. 

'It's really hard to turn people away,' says owner

Since moving to the farm in July, Dueck has taken in two calves. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Jaye Dueck has been dreaming of having her own farm and animal sanctuary for five years, and now she's made that a reality with the newly opened Eden's Farm and Recovery Sanctuary near Kamloops. 

When Dueck moved from the Lower Mainland onto the eight-hectare property facing the South Thompson River with her husband and some rabbits, it already came with a dog, three peacocks and a cat.

Since their arrival in July, things have been booming — she has taken in two horses, two calves, three goats and two more rabbits.

"So suddenly we're up to 20 animals," said Dueck. "This has been my plan all along to rescue some animals [and] to provide them with a safe home for the rest of their lives."

It was Dueck's love of animals and desire to reconnect with them that inspired her decision to open a farm and sanctuary. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

She plans to take in two more sheep, but that will be it for some time because they're at full capacity.

"I've already had so many requests to take animals. I probably turned away 20 to 30 animals in two months now. So I'm getting contacted regularly," she said.

"The story is always really heartbreaking. People are giving their animals up out of [real] hardship and it's a very difficult decision."

Dueck hopes to open up the farm to the public soon by offering tours to teach people about animals and farm life. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

It's hard to turn people away, she told Daybreak Kamloops' Jenifer Norwell, but her previous experience working as a volunteer at another animal sanctuary in the Fraser Valley has helped her prepare for it. 

"I think it's just part of having a sanctuary and you learn to just focus on what you are doing and what you're doing well."

Love of animals

Having grown up on a farm in Alberta, Dueck has always loved animals, and had been really missing farm life after she moved away to university and into cities such as Vancouver, Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

When the property near Kamloops — a former hobby farm already set up with buildings and shelters — became available it seemed like a good fit. 

"In the city you just kind of get disconnected from it. As I've gotten older it seemed I just in my heart really wanted to get back connected with animals," Dueck said.

"[I] have a real concern about animal welfare and our responsibility to take care of them."

Dueck plans to open the farm to the public and provide tours. She also wants to set up a farm stay program, where people can stay in the guesthouse and experience farm life and help care for animals.

"A lot of people who grew up in a city don't even see a farm animal, and yet we're consuming them and and have no awareness of the industrialized farming that's taking place," said Dueck.

"I think there's been growing recognition of animal welfare and the importance of being able to make choices around the food we eat and also to do our part to take care of them."

Jaye Dueck has been wanting to run a farm animal sanctuary for years, and now, she's finally doing it. 6:00

With files from Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops

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