Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich was formed by Wendy Valentine in 1995. Over the years Wendy has rescued many animals - now up to a whopping 1000 - and looks after them at the farm base with the aid of many helpers. As well as this, Hillside has also set up its own investigation team to look into allegations of animal abuse and to gain evidence of the appalling standards of welfare in factory farming. DVDs from various TV investigation programmes are available via Hillside's online gift shop. All in all, Hillside has made the lives of many, many farm animals much better than it otherwise would have so we decided to ask Wendy a few questions about the sanctuary, the animals and what people reading can do to help.




Shari Black Velvet: You’re home to around 1000 animals. You have everyone from Starlight the sheep and Flossie the pig to Inti and Lupi the alpacas. What was the first animal you rescued and how much does it cost to feed and look after all of those?
Wendy Valentine: Dennis the donkey and Pixie the calf were two of the first animals we rescued in 1995 and are still with us. It costs around £50,000 per month to feed and care for our rescued animals, including veterinary and farrier fees.

SBV: Have you had any hard times – where for example you couldn’t afford food etc?
WV: Our hardest time was earlier this year when the Sanctuary found itself in severe financial difficulty.  We sent out an appeal letter and thanks to the generosity of our supporters were able to overcome this.

SBV: How many people help at the sanctuary?
WV: We have 65 people working at the Sanctuary - combined yard and office staff.

SBV: If you could bring some laws into place to help farmed animals, what laws would you want?
WV: We would ban factory farming. 

SBV: Hillside’s patron is Martin Shaw. Can you tell me about him getting involved with Hillside – and what does he do, or has he done, to help?
WV: Martin Shaw first became involved with Hillside when he rescued two ducks and brought them to the Sanctuary.  He supports our work by allowing us to use his name in appeals, newsletters, etc.

SBV: You have an online shop that sells all sorts of goods such as socks, mugs, vitamins, bags and clocks. Do you make much on each item sold? Does buying from the gift shop help much?
WV: We make approximately 25% on goods sold in our gift and online shops.

SBV: Hillside has open days so visitors can come and meet the animals. There are also talks on occasion. David Bakewell talks about heavy horses with a demonstration. Do you have a lot of visitors? What do the animals think of the visitors?
WV: We have a good number of visitors, especially during the summer and David Bakewell’s talks have proved popular.  Unfortunately, we can’t say what our animals think of our visitors but we would like to think they enjoy meeting people as they always appear friendly towards them.

SBV: What have been a couple of the worst cases of animal abuse you’ve been unfortunate enough to see?
WV: Most cases of animal abuse we have found within the factory farming industry, turkeys, chickens, pigs and sheep with foot rot is particularly distressing and sadly very common.  Many of them are in too bad a condition to be able to save.  Unfortunately, it is rife within the industry.

SBV: What have been the best rewards of having the sanctuary?
WV: The best rewards are knowing that we have made a difference to animals’ lives by the number of people who tell us that they are no longer going to eat animals or their products.

SBV: What can people reading do to help or find out more?
WV: People can visit our website, or contact the office for newsletters.  Lots of supporters write letters to MPs, government bodies, supermarkets, etc, hold sponsored events, stalls and street collections, hand out leaflets to family and friends (or door to door), donate to us, leave legacies.  The ways are numerous.

Visit for more info. Check their online shop – it really does have some great items!





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