Greetings from Waelder, Texas!

To say we are feeling grateful about reaching our year-end campaign goal to raise $75,000 is an understatement. The $75,000 match has been unlocked (yes, we really did have to raise it from y’all to unlock it), and we are in the process of building out some long-awaited infrastructure here at the sanctuary. 

If you’re reading this, you are well aware that the world’s food system is unsustainable and has normalized violence done to billions of animals every year. 

How do we remain optimistic knowing we cannot rescue our way out of this? 

By focusing on what we can do as individuals and as Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Huge changes, whether social or geological, happen incrementally and not overnight. 

Because of our members and supporters, Tommy and I are able to maintain a family of animals who were otherwise going to be slaughtered, euthanized or used in cruel rituals. These creatures, great and small, enable us to change hearts and minds. We’ve made them ambassadors for their less fortunate counterparts, and they are deserving of the best medical treatment possible here on our property. 

The state-of-the-art Medical Treatment Facility will revolutionize bovine care! Veterinarians specializing in farmed animals will be invited to our Medical Treatment Facility. Here, they’ll learn compassionate care for aging bovines until their natural end, diverging from the commodity-focused approach in large animal hospitals. 

This unique facility will invite vegan vets nationwide to visit, stay on site and shape the future of bovine care. Our plans include a bunkhouse for on-site volunteers and residents, offering a rare chance to treat these animals as individuals, influencing the next wave of compassionate veterinary professionals.

This initiative directly furthers our mission by transforming the perception of farm animals. By educating veterinarians in compassionate bovine care, we challenge the view of these animals as commodities. A ripple effect will occur, shifting the mindset within the veterinary community and cultivating a future where farm animals are respected as individuals, not products.

Incremental steps toward the larger goal of the facility is necessary infrastructure. Roads to the main barnhouse that will become the facility are being fortified now. A water well and irrigation will create resilience against drought and lush pastures for grazing. 

Our vision is a completed Medical Treatment Facility by July 2026, where we will be able to handle routine medical care and conditions not requiring major surgery. 

Thank you so very much for supporting us and being part of our vision, and for your compassion which has the greatest value of all. Happy 2024! 

– Renee King-Sonnen

Rowdy Girl Impact Tour

The Rowdy Girl documentary has created a buzz and continues to garner international attention at screenings around the world: 

San Francisco Veg Fest – October 29, 2023

Whole Planet Spirituality Retreat – October 19-20, 2023

Seoul Animal Film Festival – Asian Premiere – October 21-23, 2023

New Haven Documentary Film Festival – October 15, 2023

Tacoma Film Festival – October 10, 2023

Hamptons International Film Festival – US Premiere – October 9-11, 2023

Hot Docs – World Premiere – April 29, 2023-May 3, 2023

The next screening will be at Cornell University in March 2024.

Read more about Rowdy Girl

Thank you Ravinder Sehgal for your support and for hosting Renee’s stay during the San Francisco VegFest where the Rowdy Girl documentary was screened with a Q&A.

New Animal Residents Update

Since the last issue, we welcomed the following new residents to the sanctuary:

“Carey’s Crew,” named for their loving mom who was forced to surrender her family because of illness.

Carly, the goat
Antonio, the turkey
Three chickens, Phoenix, Raven and Spot

Blinken, Winken & Nod were named by Kaci Christian who won the naming contest.

Our six new Cornish Cross chickens have settled in and are enjoying their new lives free from fear and the threat of being victims of a cruel religious practice. These beautiful, intelligent birds named Marshmallow, Snow White, Ivory, Cotton, Alabaster and Crystal arrived here on Renee’s nine year vegan anniversary.

In September, we welcomed our first ever Muscovy ducks to the flock here, Thelma and Lou.

In Memoriam

Star had endured cancer in her eye for years. She was one of the eight cows rescued in conjunction with the Florida SPCA. Star was a very gentle cow and loved life. She was loved by her Florida herd of eight along with the entire adopted Rowdy Girl herd, and all of us humans she encountered daily.

We want to acknowledge also the feathered friends we’ve lost recently: 

Marshmallow passed away a month after she arrived. She had to be euthanized because she literally went down and was unable to stand again. Factory farmed birds are bred for food and grow at an unnatural rate which causes many painful health outcomes, and often early death.

Nod passed away shortly after her arrival. We had no knowledge of her background. 

Thelma passed shortly after arriving with a bound egg that burst inside her. 

Sealy made an impression on every one who encountered her. She was feisty, determined, smart and loyal. She will be missed.

Membership Spotlight

Without our members, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is just an idea! Fortunately our membership is growing and provides the runway of support we need for daily sanctuary operations. In 2023, our membership increased by 22%. If you are not yet a member of the ROWDY CLUB, there’s no time like the present! 

We Are Listening.

If you participated in the 2023 Membership Survey, thank you! We hope you enjoyed the recipe for blueberry pancakes. Some notable feedback:

  • Most respondents view Rowdy Girl Sanctuary’s work as being a voice for farmed animals and educating the world about factory farming. 

  • Many of you are curious to know more about Renee’s forthcoming book, “The Secret Diary of a Cattle Rancher’s Wife”

Stay tuned for upcoming emails about the book. It’s going to be big. That’s how we roll in Texas. 

In this issue, we focus our spotlight on Cheney Smith. She has been a monthly supporter since 2019. Cheney shows up for every online Rowdy Roundup (Zoom updates with Renee and Tommy). 

Here’s Cheney’s why:

“I found Rowdy Girl very early in my vegan transition and was just so inspired that they were former cattle ranchers in the heart of Texas! Like wow, that must be some story and talk about working against the odds. It’s difficult just being vegan in our own families let alone an entire industry and community. Renee’s energy and confidence is such an inspiration to me. As a musician myself, a domestic abuse survivor, and with no human children of my own, I relate to her so much. Our shining lights couldn’t be snuffed out by anyone, not even ourselves. And Tommy’s fight for the woman and ranch he loves, willing to do anything to save both of them, which meant going vegan, is truly amazing. I also love that he’s doing veganic farming now.  From raising cattle to raising plants, I just love them both so much. I plan to start my own garden in my backyard next year and would love to see more from the garden and Tommy’s tips and tricks. 

When Renee talks about how gutted she felt that her beloved calf Stormy (who was like a daughter) was only listed as a number at the “food” vet, I had a similar experience. In my time of extreme grief (over losing an animal), I told my job I needed to take some bereavement time. To my utter shock, they replied back that per the federal bereavement policy, it only applies to humans and therefore they couldn’t grant me bereavement time. I’d have to use my PTO if I needed time off. This was a kick right in my gut at my lowest point; I felt so invalidated of my feelings and like no one understood the level of pain I was enduring. I felt so alone in my grief like I should just be getting over it, it’s only a “pet” right? I’m still dealing with her death almost a year later. I decided at that point I want to change that federal policy to include all life. The policy also doesn’t include friends or non-direct relatives. Sometimes family isn’t blood and sometimes we are closer to extended family than our direct family, and you know how much our non-human animals are family to us! I think the policy is unfair all around, but my focus is to end the speciesism it perpetuates. So here’s to ending speciesism and recognizing how our non-human children are part of our families and deserve more from our society with rights and agency.”

– Cheney Smith, Tennessee

Recent Media Attention

Plan Your Trip to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary Today!

We love to welcome guests so they can experience the beautiful energy created by our animal residents living their lives peacefully. 

Private tours are an important part of raising awareness about our food system and creating a ripple of compassion that will keep spreading.

 Book your private tour here. We would love y’all to visit!

Thank You Corporate Sponsors!

We are indebted to the mission-aligned sponsors below who contribute a great deal to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Look for their delicious products wherever you shop. 

All Y’alls Foods Founder and CEO Brett Christoffel! Brett pays it forward for the animals with his time, treasure and talent to support Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. According to PR Newswire, “All Y’alls Foods is a mission-driven and visionary plant-based protein company founded by Brett Christoffel. Inspired by his journey towards compassion and sustainability, the company he built aims to offer more delicious and nutritious plant-based protein alternatives and is committed to fostering a healthier, more sustainable world for all living beings.”

Read Founder Michael Schwartz’s Founder Letter at Year-End 2023. His comments about what Big Food is doing to the vegan product industry are worth a read.

Thank you Darren and Linda Middlesworth for your donations of plant-based dog kibble for all the Rowdy Girl pooches as well as our visitors’ dogs. r remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Save the Date!


Sunday, February 18 from 10am to 5pm

If you were raised on or have spent time on a farm, you know it’s hard and never ending work. Rowdy Girl Sanctuary with more than 136 resident animals is no different. But what a labor of love it is! 

Fences need mending. Gardens need tending. Barns need maintenance. And, it takes a village to get it done. 

Register here!