I am very grateful to Virginia for passing on her learnings about animals in these workshops. We obviously talked about the practical aspects of being around animals, but we also discussed ethical issues and techniques to understand animals in a more subtle way about their needs and desires. It was a very rich exchange and always framed by a great benevolence, as much from Virginia as from the participants. Thank you for this precious sharing!
A rich range of exchanges and advice transmitted in a very authentic way without fuss, a lot of humility and sincerity.
The essential points are tackled with concrete examples, which gives a good starting point and above all a basis of examples of fundamental actions to do/think about and/or not to do, and also to be attentive to obstacles, traps or bad surprises along the way.
A day of mindfulness that was very useful and opened up the paths of possibility for me!
Thank you Virginia, you are a source of inspiration and motivation. Bravo for everything you do and the energy you give to a wonderful cause.
These workshops allow us to acquire fundamental knowledge about animals and their real needs, not with the aim of exploiting them and getting something out of them, but with the sole aim of understanding who they really are by learning to listen to them, observe them and feel them, thus developing the capacity to integrate their precious teachings. Virginia's practical and theoretical advice and tips are essential to realise what it means to manage a sanctuary and its inhabitants, which is essential if you plan to create one in the future.
The workshops take place in a very warm and intimate atmosphere, where always a lot of love and kindness is felt. And of course, ending the workshops with a taste of the delights of "Aux Pains Sans Peines" is a perfect ending.
Your passion, your love and your generosity make the training for the pigs a real pleasure to experience. Beyond having a good time, you clearly give the keys to welcome these wonderful beings at home, the care, the techniques, the subtleties... etc. All this information which makes that when we have the chance to take care of these animals we are in confidence and we know where we are going - with always the unknown part of life which makes things so beautiful! I look forward to the other trainings and may other people take the path of inter-species coexistence :)
Farmers in transition
Meeting Virginia was a turning point in our lives. Until then, we were camping on our ideas, all constructed by the media... The idea was to meet and put all that aside. We met at the sanctuary where we spent an afternoon talking to the animals there. Afterwards we realised how much we had in common. In the end, we were not so different, quite the contrary... Afterwards, everything went very quickly: we were able to place our last cows at the sanctuary, exchange and reorientate ourselves.
The conversion came about almost naturally; we found a common point in all this: animals... so what could be more natural than to make plant-based bakery products? Paying homage to all those animals we killed to eat them.... Food without them... what could be better? Our bakery was created in 2022. The doors were opened by our famous trio: Virginia, Valerie my wife, and me.
For us, this conversion was a revelation and I don't regret it for anything. Today Virginia is a sister, a confidant, a person who is part of the family. There is not a day that goes by without this voice confirming our approach. To the breeders who are hesitating to make a change of direction: take the step of transition, you only stand to gain! You can count on people who will support you. Forget your preconceptions and go for it! Life is beautiful and full of surprises. Let yourself be guided, as we are, by infinite trust!
"During my work on our dairy farm, there was always a disagreement with my partner about the care of the cattle. This could lead to the death of the animal. In my distress, I sought help from our official agricultural authorities. The veterinary service informed me that my denunciation of my partner could be a self-punishment, through a deduction of direct payments. The situation was so intolerable that I went through this stage, which led to the holding premises being brought into conformity with financial penalties. During all these unsuccessful steps, because the controls showed healthy animals, I tried my luck with a person who was completely foreign to this field, Tomi Tomek of SOS Chats in Noiraigue, who put me in contact with Virginia Markus who came to the farm several times. She did not back down in the face of my partner's aggressiveness and really took the time to listen to me and to accompany me. This led to two TV shows, paper interviews and many discussions. I finally had someone to talk to who understood me.
Virginia pointed out to me that even though I worked my animals with a great deal of heart, once their yield was over, they ended up in the slaughterhouse when they still had a long life ahead of them. This shameful killing was indeed unbearable for me throughout my career. With his help, I am seriously thinking about the plant transition. It is such a new, emotional approach, especially linked to very important economic unknowns when the farm is mortgaged. This approach could not succeed because I had to retire and it was with great reluctance that I had to hand over the farm to my son, who continues to farm without taking a step back, i.e. without having made the plant transition.
At present I am working on reporting the maltreatment that I come across on my way to the farms. With my professional experience I suffer for all the abuse hidden inside and I can only count on the commitment of people working in the plant transition."
About three months after one of our cows arrived at the Co&xister sanctuary, my partner and I attended a public visit with a plant-based snack from the bakery "Aux Pains Sans Peines". I "found myself" in this caring and non-judgmental world.
Hearing all the stories of the animals at the sanctuary and seeing our protégée in her element, I decided to become a vegan overnight. I was so happy for her that there was no consistency in not making the transition. I could no longer boast about my happiness to those around me and tell myself that the next day there would be meat in my shopping basket. How could I do that to another animal when I had participated in the rescue of a member of our herd and was so happy? It seemed like a no-brainer and to go against it would have made me hypocritical and sad.
My brother-in-law's rescue of our protege, the existence of the sanctuary, meeting Virginia, Stephane and Valerie's plant-based bakery, also former breeders: all these things seemed to fit together for a very obvious reason. I'm eating a lot more fruit and vegetables thanks to this transition. This is a real boon for me as I wasn't eating enough (even after advice from a health professional). Since I've been eating vegan (about 95% of the time), I feel better in my body, my mind and my heart. The only thing I regret is that I didn't do it before!