Jon and Tracey Stewart...the next Doolittles? by Dede Tabak, February 10 2016, 1 Comment
Last month, a cow made the news for running loose in the streets of Queens after escaping a slaughterhouse. The cow, later named Freddie after Freddie Mercury (lead singer of Queen...get it?!), was captured by the police and sent back to Archer Halal Live Poultry to be killed. But after hearing the news about Freddie, Mike Stura had other plans for the cow. Stura, who runs an animal sanctuary called Skyland in Wantage, New Jersey, immediately called the slaughterhouse and persuaded them to give him Freddie, the runaway cow. Stura succeeded in his mission, which means that now Freddie will live out his days on a beautiful farm together with 75 other rescued animals at Skyland. All in a day's work for an animal sanctuary.
Following down Mike Stura’s path are Jon and Tracey Stewart. After Jon stepped down as beloved host of “The Daily Show”, he and his wife Tracey, animal lover and activist, decided to buy a 12-acre farm in Middleton, New Jersey. The farm houses all of the animals Tracey has rescued—which were getting too many for the couple's home in NYC. These include four dogs, four pigs, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, one parrot, one hamster and two fish (as well as three horses, though they live off-site).
Jon and Tracey purchased the farm, which they called Bufflehead, with the intention of turning it into an animal sanctuary and an educational center. They reached out to the organization, Farm Sanctuary, and after some consideration, the Stewarts decided to allow Farm Sanctuary to take over Bufflehead and make it the New Jersey branch of the national animal rescue organization. It definitely seems to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The Stewarts were honorees at the Farm Sanctuary Gala this fall and earlier this year, Farm Sanctuary named a pair of rescued sheep Jon and Tracey.
Fans of "The Daily Show" are probably familiar with Jon Stewart's animal rights activism. He frequently brought up important animal rights issues on the show. He criticized and shamed Governor Christie on vetoing a popular gestation crate ban. He also hosted Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary to discuss animal rescue and veganism and John Hargrove, the former SeaWorld employee who became a whistleblower on the company’s animal cruelty. Jon, however, isn’t the only one impacting the masses. Tracey recently wrote a book called Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better, a humorous and insightful look into the secret lives of animals and a guide for how to live alongside them. The goal of the book, according to Tracey, is to make people look at animals more as individuals and less as simply food. The book was praised by no less than the likes of Jane Goodall as a "hugely important" step in understanding the animal world. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the book will go to Farm Sanctuary.
“If everyone did a bit more, if they fell in love a little bit more, so much could happen,” Tracey Stewart told The New York Times. “It doesn’t have to be going vegan. You can advocate for them. You can show tenderness. You can play music for them. I really hope people can connect with animals the way most of us did as children.”
The Bufflehead Farm isn’t open yet for visitors, but Jon and Tracey use a Facebook page called "The Daily Squeal" to chronicle the lives of two of Bufflehead's rescued pigs, Anna and Maybelle Stewart. Jon and Tracey hope to eventually open the farm to school groups as an educational center and to teach children how to respect animals. And who knows? Maybe the next animal sanctuary that saves a famous runaway cow could be Bufflehead Farm. It looks like a wonderful place to live.