A CHARITY which offers a refuge for over 500 mistreated farm animals is appealing for the support of Vale people during the credit crunch.

Donations to Farm Animal Sanctuary in Middle Littleton have dropped significantly since the start of the recession and the charity is struggling to meet its weekly £2,000 running costs.

It was founded 20 years ago by former journalist Janet Taylor, who was moved to create the sanctuary after she exposed the suffering of livestock at farmers’ markets for a News of the World investigation.

Staff and volunteers have organised an animal charities day this Sunday in a bid to raise the sanctuary’s profile and help other local animal charities who are also finding it hard to make ends meet.

Ms Taylor said: “We’re running on empty now. The credit crunch has affected us really badly with donations. This is why we’re holding the animal charities day, because a lot of the small charities are struggling.

“We can’t close offices or sack people and we’ve still got the same expenses every month. There are so few farm animal sanctuaries in the country that we’re one of the biggest.”

The event starts at 1.30pm and will offer visitors a chance to look around the sanctuary and meet some of its animals.

There will also be stalls, games, a tombola and food. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead. Admission is £1 for adults or free for children.

For more information, call 01386 832640 or visit thefarmani malsanctuary.co.uk.