Animals rule the countryside at the “Animal Paradise” sanctuary, 75 kilometers outside Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires.
The sanctuary is a labor of love - something being operated for pleasure, not for profit.
Gabriela Bezeric and Armando Scoppa have been heading the center for over 25 years. They rescue animals that would otherwise have been killed for meat.
Around 850 animals live in the sanctuary. These “residents” include ducks, pigs and horses. The sanctuary is also home to llamas and capybaras – large mammals native to South America.
Bezeric hopes one day to expand the Animal Paradise.
“I always say that I am going to save all the animals that are at risk of death,” she told the Reuters news agency.
Bezeric and Scoppa, who are a married couple, support animal rights. Their ideas stand out in a country where meat consumption is central to the culture and to the economy.
Yamila Buboff volunteers at the sanctuary.
“The Animal Paradise is the product of the work of two visionaries who a long time ago believed in giving a second chance to animals, mostly those destined for consumption,” she said. “So that they can be treated as the sentient beings they are and not just as a plate of food.”
An economic crisis has held up some of the couple’s plans for expansion. They are now looking for financial supporters.
“The important thing is that our ‘Paradise’ can keep going,” said Bezeric. “Everything I do is for the animals and I want to continue so that this remains for them.”
As he fed “Wolf”, one of the sanctuary’s horses, Scoppa said that he sometimes worried about the future. He and Bezeric are now in their 70s.
“There are no heirs here, the animals are the only ones to inherit it,” he said. “The animals own the place.”
I’m John Russell.
Horacio Soria and Juan Bustamante reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
sanctuary – n. a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter
consumption – n. the act of using up or eating something
visionary – n. a person who has clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future
sentient – adj. able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste
heir – n. a person who has the legal right to receive the property of someone who dies
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