He led police on a chase O.J. Simpson could only envy.
In the end, they knocked him out with a tranquilizer dart. I remembered vaguely that there had been protests from people who thought he deserved to live. One day I asked a friend who was passionate about animal rights if she knew what happened to him.
Yes, she said. We took him out to Sasha Farm. That was the first I ever heard of the place. It was, she told me, the Midwest‘s largest farm sanctuary, in the country near Manchester, west of Ann Arbor. So I went out there. It looked like a well-managed Garden of Eden. Jefferson -- well, what else were they going to name him -- was there, uninterested in the media, or at least, me. There were other cattle, and hogs and chickens and a whole host of dogs that had been saved from Hurricane Katrina. There was Boris, a wild boar who had been found newborn by a hunter, as well as a legion of potbellied pigs bought as cute “fad“ pets and later discarded.
There was a magnificent racehorse who barely escaped becoming dog food. And there were a few animals who still showed signs of a life of torture. Chickens without beaks, for example.
They cut them off in factory farms so they won‘t peck each other. They do it without anesthesia. Then there was Samson, a magnificent red chow. Officially Dorothy Davies and her husband, Monte Jackson, run Sasha Farm, but it was clear that Samson really watched over the whole place. That’s when they told me that he had been rescued from what they called a vivisection lab.
Dorothy and Monte are vegans now. Not everyone who supports Sasha is a vegan or even a vegetarian. But spending time there gives you a different perspective. Whatever else you say about primitive man, they had to meet the meat they ate.
We mostly never do. You may still want to eat turkey, but after you meet the birds at Sasha Farm, you are unlikely to think of them in quite the same way. The turkeys looked happy when I went back to see them this summer. Happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.
Dorothy and Monte have been saving animals since soon after they moved here thirty years ago. Samson died in his sleep a few years back, and they buried him on a hillside.
Today, a couple Katrina dogs who stand guard over the place. The rescued turkeys at Sasha Farm today will be celebrating Thanksgiving by eating instead of being eaten.
In fact, Dorothy and Monte intend for all their creatures to have a nice day today, no matter now many legs they have.
Regardless of what‘s on your plate, here‘s hoping you do too. By the way, if you have any desire to see what Sasha Farm is all about, they are offering a guided tour at two p.m. Saturday.
That just might be a whole lot better for the kids than another couple hours at the mall. For details, go to www.sashafarm.org.
And tell them Jack at Michigan Radio sent you.