PHOTOS: Disabled animals given new lease of life at Israeli sanctuary

Donkeys named Gili and Miri, interact at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Miri, a three-legged donkey, Gary, a sheep with leg braces, and Omer, a blind goat, munch on some hay at Israel's only animal rescue and educational sanctuary.

Founded by animal rights activists Adit Romano, a 52-year-old former business executive, and Meital Ben Ari, 38, who used to work in tech, Freedom Farm serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals and as an educational centre for visitors.

"If you want people to open their hearts towards these animals, we have to bring them close," said Romano, stroking two pigs named Yossi and Omri.

Most of the nearly 240 animals at the facility were raised for slaughter. Some were donated by farmers who chose to save them. Others, like Miri, who was found lying in a ditch with a broken leg, were abandoned.

After Miri's rescue, her leg was amputated.

A volunteer plays guitar as another pats a goat at "Freedom Farm" which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Ben Ari said children with special needs particularly enjoy tours of the farm and its 5 acres (2 hectares) of green pastures, stables and a barn in Moshav Olesh, an agricultural community in central Israel.

On a visit with her 84-year-old father, Shira Breuer, 56, said: "I'm worried about the future of humanity and this place sounds like a place of hope."

The farm's most recent addition is Nir, a five-month-old cow fitted with a prosthetic leg to replace one that was broken and then amputated.

Freedom Farm raised money for the artificial limb and medical care through an internet crowd funding campaign.

It costs about $1 million a year to run the farm, which relies on contributions and volunteer workers from Israel and abroad, including musicians - who come and play for the animals. (Reuters)

A pig named Yossi, sits in soil at "Freedom Farm" which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Photography by Nir Elias/Reuters

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A three-legged donkey named Miri and a pig named Yossi stand on a field at "Freedom Farm" which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A turkey, named Yael, sits next to a volunteer at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A volunteer treats a chicken at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Meital Ben Ari, a co-founder of "Freedom Farm" pats Gary, a sheep with leg braces, at the farm which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Chickens gather at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A volunteer walks with Nir, a cow with prosthetic leg at "Freedom Farm" which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A volunteer hugs Nir, a cow fitted with prosthetic leg at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A pig named Omri walks with staff members and volunteers out of a barn at "Freedom Farm" which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A sheep with leg braces, named Gary, grazes at "Freedom Farm", a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Adit Romano, a co-founder of "Freedom Farm", pats a pig named Omri at the farm which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A turkey, named Yael, rests on the grass at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A volunteer treats a chicken at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A sheep and a goat are seen at "Freedom Farm", which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Meital Ben Ari, a co-founder of "Freedom Farm" kisses Omri a pig, in his sty at the farm, which serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals in Moshav Olesh, Israel. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

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