Our Story

We are John and Debbie Sims, we packed up our suburban life with mostly feathered flock and moved to beautiful Northern Victoria in October 2021 to start our sanctuary – J&D’s Farm Sanctuary, which is in memory of our Gussy girl the goose . We came across Gus when Debbie put her hand up to help a friend in need who had lost her flock to a fox, we brought Gus into our small rental in the eastern suburbs and what a wonderful majestic lady she was, sadly she passed away at the age of 22 after two and a half years of being the undisputed queen of the yard. Gussy came and went before we had found our path in life, to dedicate our lives to animals who deserve so much love, though she lives on as the ambassador of farm animal rescue!

We arrived with our gang of 2 dogs, 5 cats, 10 ducks, 6 chickens, 5 quail a tough as nails rabbit and 3 Guinea pigs oh and our first official sanctuary rescues, the very young and handsome Roosters Kevin and Randall. Two days later John had to travel back to Melbourne for work, he returned with 6 young roosters, the Gippsland and Reservoir boys, he talks of what must have looked like a dodgy carpark exchange!!

Before we had even settled in, we were on the road to some co-op farm in Gisborne to pick up 2 pigs and 2 goats who without rescue were to be shot if homes could not be found, soon we would get to meet and slowly know the timid Pinocchio (Nucky) and Pumpkin the piggies, and Peach and Tayla the twin 13yo Saanen goats who were no longer any use on the farm as their breeding and milking days were over. we had officially taken on the care of animals, the likes we had never cared for before!!

It has been a little over 12 months since we arrived, during which time we have taken in over 160 animals in need, we have quickly learnt that lack of space, time and funds does not equate to intake, something we continue to struggle with.

Our goal is to demonstrate to as many people as possible the need to treat every animal with kindness, we want the faces and stories of the animals to spread far and wide, to give the animals a voice and a chance to live a life that is loved, and to have the opportunity to live out their natural life without fear or exploitation. So here we are, overseeing the care of the wonderful residents at J&D’s Farm Sanctuary!

Why Start a Sanctuary?

Did you know that under Australian law – not all animals are protected?

We were shocked to learn that in Australia there are no laws to protect farmed animals, that in fact laws that protect domestic animals – our family pets, are not relevant to animals that we consider as having ‘value’ or “use” for humans in terms of exploitation. The capacity for an animal to suffer is not taken into consideration when it comes to our beautiful farm animal friends.

There are codes of practice in each state in Australia that allows sentient animals to suffer terrible abuses – legally sanctioned acts of cruelty that we would never inflict on an animal that we love. These animals are affectionate beings that are capable of rich emotional lives, though they are denied any quality or freedom of life.

Many people are unaware of the cruel treatment these animals receive, or that these practices are outdated. We want people to have a better understanding of factory farming, and animal protection standards, and to have a better connection with the animals that are being exploited. We want people to see the animals we rescue for the beautiful, loving, intelligent, playful, sentient beings that they are and not something that can be used for our consumption, amusement, clothing, testing – these animals deserve a life that is happy, free and protected.