Animal sanctuary owner faces fight to stop eviction

Evesham Journal: FIGHT: Janet Taylor with Sherbert a Swaledale sheep at The Farm Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary is threatened with closure. FIGHT: Janet Taylor with Sherbert a Swaledale sheep at The Farm Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary is threatened with closure.

A SANCTAURY for hundreds of animals in the Vale is facing another fight for its future, with its owner once again facing eviction.

The Farm Animal Sanctuary at Manor Orchard Farm, in Middle Littleton, has been at the centre of a legal battle for the last three years.

Janet Taylor, who runs the sanctuary, thought she had safeguarded its future for another three years after securing a new lease with the landowner.

But that deal was never signed after £200,000, put forward to cover the cost in an agreement with a local trust, failed to materialise.

Ms Taylor has been told to evict the site by July 21. But she says that is simply not possible, and the health of some animals means there is no way they can be moved.

She is still hoping to raise enough money to buy the site and secure the sanctuary’s long-term future.

“We have been trying to arrange something every which way,” said Ms Taylor, who has run the sanctuary at the farm for 17 years.

Landowner Patricia Bernie says she gave the land to Ms Taylor on a temporary basis.

But she told the Journal she does not intend for any of the animals at the sanctuary to be harmed.

“The farm needs to be sold, but extended occupation for the sanctuary has already been granted, for the sake of the animals,” she said.

“It is my intention that all the animals will be looked after and re-housed. Judgements about how this position has been reached should not be made without knowing the full story.”

But Ms Taylor fears the animals will have to put down.

“We have about 600 animals,” she said.

“To move them is against regulations. We have a blind horse that cannot be moved. It would kill him.

“The vet said the only alternative for the animals that can’t be moved is to put them down here.

“It isn’t that we are refusing to move. We can’t move. There is nowhere for the animals to go.”

Ms Taylor is now trying to raise more than £450,000 to buy the land.

Her cause has big-name backing from actress Joanna Lumley, who is a patron of the sanctuary.

She said: “We have all worked hard and optimistically to raise the funds to buy the farm.

“It’s incomprehensible. The victims in all of this are those beautiful animals who came here for safety.”

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