FALLS TOWNSHIP, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — People came from far and wide to a local animal sanctuary to take part in an annual Thanksgiving season celebration.
Indraloka Animal Sanctuary hosted Thanksliving which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the sanctuary’s new barns, a turkey parade, and a vegan-friendly meal.
Eyewitness News reporter and anchor Mark Hiller had the honor of being one of the celebrity co-hosts for the event.
This may not be how you’re used to seeing turkeys around Thanksgiving, but these birds get to feast at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary’s annual event called Thanksliving.
“This is our big celebration of the year. This is the day that we celebrate our gratitude for the animals, and for the earth and for all of you who make it possible to rescue all of them,” sanctuary founder Indra Lahiri said.
People spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the sanctuary near Dalton with rescued farm animals. Lahiri helps rescue these animals from all kinds of bad situations, including abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
“They come from escaping slaughterhouses and live markets. They fall off transport trucks on their ways to slaughter. All kinds of ways,” Lahiri said.
Thanksliving is a way to celebrate the second chance at life for these farm animals. The main attraction of the event is the turkey parade from the birds’ pen to their own fully decorated table where they enjoyed a meal of fruits and vegetables.
“We do it around Thanksgiving every year. And we just use it as a more broader way to give thanks. And people in the community really love it,” sanctuary co-director Johnny Braz said.
This is the seventh Thanksliving celebration, but this is the first time the feast is being held with the sanctuary’s new facilities. This second site for Indraloka opened last year in addition to its original location in Mehoopany, which was founded in 2005. Christine Condon drove an hour and a half from Whitehall to see the new facilities, which include new barns and an infirmary.
“I was just so impressed when I drove up as soon as I parked my car. There is the cows up on the hill. And then I walked up and just saw how expansive it is,” Condon said.
The new sanctuary will hold animal education programs for children. Lahiri says it’s a tough, violent world for kids and many don’t experience love.
“When we bring the kids together with the animals, they experience unconditional love. And when they look in the eyes of that animal, and they see that that animal loves them, they begin to love themselves,” Lahiri said.
Thanksliving also serves as Indraloka’s biggest annual fundraiser. Guests who purchased tickets to the event also participated in raffles and auctions.