After 20 years of producing award-winning goat cheese, farmers Carol and Julian Pearce are now going vegan.
The farmers have always been compassionate and loving towards animals (Carol has a background in veterinary medicine). Theirs was a ‘no kill’ farm, where the animals were not slaughtered after their production days were over, but instead would live out the rest of their lives on the farm. Over the years, they’ve also adopted abandoned goats, pigs, cows, horses, chickens, ducks and dogs, so the conversion to a sanctuary only made sense to the pair.
Courtesy of Mercy For Animals
After 20 years of making cheese, you’ve decided to ditch goat’s milk in favor of plant-based alternatives. What inspired this decision?
Julian: We decided that we could not be a rescue and bring so many more babies into the world each year as well. Not only that influenced us but also the increase of corporate farming. Small farmers are being put out of business by corporate conglomerates who don’t care about the animals at all. During the 80s and 90s, I spent a lot of my time lecturing and visiting farms in the USA and Canada, encouraging them to improve the animals’ lifestyle as well as their own management skills, which resulted in lower costs and healthier stock.
To see what is happening now, I feel that I can no longer condone the way livestock is being run on the large scale. The plant-based cheeses are the alternative and still allow us to pursue our passion—helping animals, giving them the life they deserve. Hopefully we can help spread the word about compassion since we have been there and have found the transition very easy.
Carol: The reason we have become vegan is being around our animals, knowing they have feelings; they love, have friends and family… how can you eat them? We look into the eyes of Juliet and Cleopatra, or Emma and the rest of the family, and you start to put their faces on the meat. The number of people who no longer eat pork after meeting Emma at the Hollywood farmers market is unbelievable. They no longer think of pork as something in a grocery store; it has a face and once had a life. We also can’t stand how animals are raised now. Factory farms have to end. The only way is to stop putting money in their pockets.
Dairy is no better. Even now, when we go to other dairies and see the goats wanting attention and getting none, just hit with sticks to get in to be milked, it tears my heart out. We have always treated our animals with love and gentleness. Anybody who visits the farm can see that. But being a dairy farm at all is still adding to the problem. We don’t want to be part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution. We have always tried to help by rescuing animals. We love our animals so deeply. The thought of them ever being hurt is unbearable. Now, by not breeding, we can save animals from cruelty, not compound it by bringing more into the world.
Note: Juliet and Cleopatra are cows, and Emma is a little pig who often goes to the Hollywood farmers market on Sundays with them.
The new non-profit sanctuary is called The Sanctuary at Soledad Goats, and the Pearces are implementing their knowledge and success from goat cheese into vegan cheese making in an effort to adapt and utilize their skills and find additional funding for their new sanctuary.
The farm’s tagline says it all: “our cheese rescues animals,” which the farmers hope will inspire others to opt for a vegan lifestyle.
The Pearces are just a recent example of a number of farmers who are choosing to go vegan in order to save animal lives. Earlier this year, Renee and Tommy Sonnen transformed their cattle ranch into Rowdy Girl Sanctuary where rescued farmed animals can live out their lives in peace.
We are so happy for the Pearces for embracing their new lifestyle and setting an example for future farmers to do the same.