Why did you change your name from The Microsanctuary Movement to The Microsanctuary Resource Center?
When we coined the term “microsanctuary” a few years ago, we wanted to spread the basic idea that sanctuaries could look many different ways, and that we could expand sanctuary possibilities beyond large, expensive properties in rural areas with multiple full-time staff and million-dollar budgets. We have connected with many microsanctuaries (who didn’t even know they were microsanctuaries!) and are ready to begin to document and share our collective knowledge and experience. Some resources are relevant to everyone, such as healthcare and predator-proofing, and other knowledge is location-specific. We hope to be a platform for small-scale vegan caregivers to learn about many different care topics on many different species, and a place where we can share practical advice, celebrate, and grieve our nonhuman family. By connecting people across time zones and within neighborhoods, we can build more resilient and mutually supportive networks that will last.
Why are we relaunching the grant program?
We took a hiatus over the summer to catch up on grant applications and to launch a new program more tightly focused on our mission and core work. “Microsanctuary” is not defined by strict parameters; it’s very subjective and individualized. What might be “micro” for one person might be beyond another person’s capacity. We are inviting people who don’t see themselves in the mainstream sanctuary scene to participate – e.g. people who rent, people who live in apartments or shared spaces, people of color and people who are low-income or disabled, young or old, trans or queer. There is so much more capacity to rescue than we think, if we use our resources creatively and encourage people to imagine their sanctuary dreams into places they will fit into “real life.” We’d rather see a thousand “ultra-micro-sanctuaries,” where people are taking on one or a very small number of companions and really bringing them into the family, rather than a few sanctuaries taking on hundreds of animals each and possibly burning out or running out of money. We respect large sanctuaries and their role, and hope to bolster this complementary model for the good of animals.
What is the Microsanctuaries of Color Fund?*
The interconnections between the oppression of NonHuman Animals and People of Color are a given despite their obvious differences. Through this understanding, Vegans of Color have been attempting to lead mainstream veganism, which is largely focused on conversations through a cis/straight, white, class-privileged, abled-bodied lens, towards evolving into a consistently anti-oppressive movement. Vegans of Color have been actively doing vital work in building egalitarian, just, interspecies community within their own cultures and beyond. We hope to highlight this by honoring and supporting their work by lending our platform to these established microsanctuary caretakers. In addition, we also want to inspire and support more Vegans of Color to join the nonhuman animal care movement through the introduction of the Microsanctuaries of Color Fund. In these ways, we are choosing to actively collaborate with and elevate the voices, as well as efforts, of those that are too often actively suppressed within the NonHuman Animal Justice Movement. This is a must, as we will not achieve the liberation that we seek without actively understanding the relationships between oppression across marginalized communities–both human and nonhuman.
What about other grant funds?
In addition to our Microsanctuaries of Color fund, we will have a non-renewable general grant fund that caregivers will be able to apply for only once. This would be ideal for supporting someone in setting up some safe housing or other infrastructure, or perhaps to help with some initial vet bills of a medically complicated patient.
We will also have a reproductive health fund for hens to be able to gain access to lifesaving reproductive healthcare such as implants to suppress egg laying and the various dangerous associated maladies. We would be open to hearing about other reproductive health conditions that might be funded by this grant, but when possible are favoring prevention (proactive care) over treatment (reactive care).
Grant awards are subject to funding and will almost certainly not be available indefinitely. For this reason and many others, we encourage people to rescue within their current means and to grow at a slow, sustainable pace that will fit into life. This is another great reason to integrate residents into human home space; when dwellings are shared, resources go much further!
* Thanks to Julia Feliz of Sanctuary Publishers for creating the Microsanctuaries of Color Fund with us, and for contributing this section of text describing the program!