Renaming Black Beauty Ranch
|©2006 Walter Larrimore|
View through a barn at the ranch.
Black Beauty Ranch, which was born in 1979 as an 83 acre, overgrown farm with a dilapidated barn and a two-room farmhouse, is a 1,300 acre spread today with a resident population of 1,400 formerly exploited creatures. The ranch was conceived as a last resort and refuge for the ordinary hooved animal who has run out of options.
At Black Beauty you will find goats the U.S. Navy wanted to eliminate; burros the National Park Service tried to shoot; wild horses the Bureau of Land Management could find no homes for; bison survivors of a failed slaughter operation; an elephant so crippled she could not perform circus tricks; and the world's greatest camel, who no longer appears in religious pageants.
You will also find abandoned longhorn cattle; chickens who were rescued from a poultry farm destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; deer who arrived with gunshot wounds; llamas and miniature ponies who were school class projects whose school classes went off and left them; and a smaller population of primates and bobcats who are housed at the ranch because no one else would care for them.
Nothing is required of these creatures-except that they eat well, drink from the ranch lakes, and bask in the Texas sun. "These animals are not to be looked at," Cleveland Amory once said. "They are to be looked after."
In 2004, the board of directors of The Fund for Animals voted unanimously to rename its flagship animal sanctuary the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch to memorialize its late, great founder.
As visitors enter and leave Black Beauty, they pass under an arch with the ranch motto inscribed prominently-a quote from Anna Sewell's classic tale.
"Here my story ends," it reads. "My troubles are over, and I am at home."
By Marian Probst
Chair, The Fund for Animals' Board of Directors