Recently a contributor article "Special Needs, Special Times" was published in the Glenview zone of the What's Happening! community newspapers praising programs at Wagner Farm in Glenview, along with an endearing photo of a baby animal. As endearing as this photo was, it doesn't depict the animal welfare issues that exist regarding Wagner Farm though it is understandable how the bucolic setting of Wagner Farm, along with various inaccurate or incomplete news stories that have been published, contributes to the many existing distortions.
Our 501 C (3) non-profit organization, Wagner Farm Rescue Fund, was founded to address the animal welfare issues at the tax payer purchased and supported Wagner Farm. It is our goal to work cooperatively and collaboratively with Wagner Farm regarding their programming, and to be able to praise rather having to condemn their animal-based programming.
One of the paramount and ongoing animal welfare issues at Wagner Farm is their Glenview Clovers 4H program which intentionally ends each year in infant animals being sold to brutal deaths by slaughter, despite humane outcomes being available. While all animals deserve ongoing good care and humane outcomes regardless of age, this intentional sale-to-slaughter program is a direct antithesis to the endearing photo of the baby animal that was published and suggests and encourages an often distorted public perception of animal serenity at Wagner Farm that is often grossly diametrically opposed to the truths.
Despite so-called "public knowledge" of the inhumane outcomes for Wagner Farm 4H animals, Wagner Farm Rescue Fund is repeatedly informed by many that it is also public assumption that a tax payer purchased and supported property would be humanely providing for all animals associated with such a property, and that it isn't feasible or the responsibility of the public to constantly monitor what should be properly addressed by responsible stewards of public funds and property.
It also is not, and should not be, the responsibility of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund to have to monitor animal welfare at Wagner Farm on a daily basis because of animal welfare issues, including issues of routine daily care and housing conditions such as lack of heating/cooling in the chicken house and lack of a pasture run-in shelter to provide the cows and horses with immediate protection from inclement weather conditions as the main barn is inaccessible to them unless they are manually put into the barn. As stated to the Glenview Park District in a recent letter by the Wagner Farm Rescue Fund attorney,
"As a taxpayer payer purchased and supported entity, Wagner Farm must seriously address these animal welfare issues and provide adequately and humanely for the best interests of these animals. It is not and should not be the responsibility of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund to monitor the animals at Wagner Farm on a daily basis due to the proliferation of conditions and programming that are resulting in the illness and deaths of animals.
With its status as a non-profit organization and the basics of its founding mission, Wagner Farm Rescue Fund has a responsibility to both the animals associated with Wagner Farm as well as the public who is supportive of the best interests of these animals.
We hope that Wagner Farm and the Glenview Park District will take these issues seriously and work to remedy them, along with taking steps to work with Wagner Farm Rescue Fund in an ongoing relationship so that every effort will be made to avoid inadequate conditions, which result in the endangerment of the animals."
There are many ways that Wagner Farm programming of this kind can be simply revised to reflect the availability of humane outcomes. Suggestions by Wagner Farm Rescue Fund, who is willing to work with Wagner Farm in the implementation of humane outcomes, include working with rescue sanctuaries and organizations to bring in a limited number of baby animals for programming, which would also result in the children involved in the programming having the additional enhanced benefit of lessons in sharing animals with each other rather than contributing to the proliferation of soon-to-be slaughtered animals by each child often having their own individual animal with it being financially possible in the affluent area that comprises the Wagner Farm area. Animals would then be returned to rescue sanctuaries after the season's programming.This would eliminate issues of animal welfare, including the involvement of Wagner Farm and the entire community of Glenview in the publicly known brutalities associated with the slaughter house industry.
The 4H programs do not have to be eliminated, and children can still work with animals. For Wagner Farm to persist in programming that involves one of the most inhumane outcomes via brutal deaths for the animals at the end of their programming season - especially when humane outcomes are easily available - is viewed by an ever-increasing number of people as a grossly inappropriate and unacceptable use of tax payer purchased and supported property.
Tax payer purchased and supported property should not and need not be a base of operations for inhumane programming, especially when humane outcomes are available and a non-profit organization is available and eager to work collaboratively with Wagner Farm on these humane outcomes.
Additionally, there are already numerous successful Wagner Farm programs, such as their farm implement and vehicles displays and upcoming community garden, which demonstrate in themselves that successful programs that appeal to the public can be implemented that do not have to involve issues of animal exploitation and death.
As Wagner Farm is also being touted as providing in some way through its programming for special needs children, it needs to be stressed that not only are programming outcomes involving brutal, inhumane deaths for animals not needed in order to provide successful special needs programming, but to equate inhumane outcomes in any manner with somehow being instrumental in providing successful programming for special needs children is unrelated, inappropriate, and a distortion of the aspects of the programming and the needs of the children themselves.
Included in the outreach efforts to Wagner Farm by Wagner Farm Rescue Fund is the offer by Debby Rubenstein, president of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund, to work with them on programming - including special needs programming - that does not involve inhumane outcomes for animals.
Wagner Farm would do well to utilize Ms. Rubenstein's curriculum programming qualifications via her state teaching certification and graduate degree in early childhood special education by working collaboratively with Wagner Farm Rescue Fund in the devising and implementing of programming that would eliminate the need for ongoing controversy due to the need of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund to protect the animals associated with Wagner Farm in any manner from the ongoing inhumane outcomes that often exist for them.
After ten years of outreach to Wagner Farm by Wagner Farm Rescue Fund in the encouraging of humane programming, now is an opportune time with our latest outreach for Wagner Farm to reach out to us as well and make programming revisions that will only make Wagner Farm more of a success by eliminating what is now unfortunate ever-growing controversy and the need to publicize it, especially due to Wagner Farm being a tax payer purchased and supported facility.