Rowdy Girl Sanctuary


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Thank you for visiting Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. We are a 501c3 and our founding date is Feb. 20, 2015. Our founder, Renee King-Sonnen went vegan on Oct. 31, 2014 and on December 20th started Vegan Journal of A Rancher’s Wife as a way to express her newfound loving feelings about the cows they used to raise and sell for profit.  On Jan 8th, 2015, Renee initiated an online fundraiser that would eventually succeed in raising $36,000, enough money to buy her husband’s herd and donate them to the new non profit – the first beef cattle ranch vegan conversion in the history of Texas, the United States and most likely the world.  Her husband, Tommy is now vegan and supports her at the sanctuary as the number one contributor and volunteer for Rowdy Girl.

There are many ways to get involved and make a difference. As a former beef cattle ranch that is now caring for farm animals and living a total vegan lifestyle, our farm has taken on a radical new dimension. At any given time, we are caring for approximately 80 animals that are typically raised for food; and that requires intensive special care.

We need:  lots of food and water, enclosures, infrastructure, tools, large farm equipment and fencing.   

We are so humbled by the donations and appreciate anything you can do to make a difference in their lives. Folks ask us all the time how they can help.

A Message From Rowdy Girl Sanctuary’s Founder

It all started with Rowdy Girl, a little 2 month old baby calf that my husband wanted me to care for, hoping I would start wanting to be a “good” ranchers wife.  I bought her for $300 having no idea that she would take me down the rabbit hole where I would come out on the other side of compassion for all sentient beings – even the ones that used to end up on my plate.  The rest they say is her-story.

Becoming vegan for me has been a result of living on the Sonnen Ranch, now Rowdy Girl Sanctuary with my multi-generational cattle rancher husband – I couldn’t take the red trailer leaving with the babies anymore – As a result I started watching documentaries and slaughterhouse videos and when I made the corner, I’ve never looked back. Forever Vegan!

I live on a 96 acre ranch with him. I was transplanted from suburbia to the ranch in 2009 – I fell in love with all the critters….kinda like Elly Mae Clampett – I named them all and loved them everyone – I’d go out and spend time with them, dance around them – sing to them and talk to them.

Then they started being trailered up to go to the sale barn, and the experience of watching them leave, the mamas wailing for a week and the absence of their souls in the pasture haunted me. As a result of watching a Melanie Joy documentary on Carnism, I was set up on Halloween 2014, while at my mother in laws.  She was serving Beef Stew and instead of seeing meat, I saw floating dead animal parts. I’d been vegetarian in the past and even tried a raw diet for several months, but never had the compassion connection until I LIVED IT! I love these animals – I see their souls, and they see mine – I can tell they are looking at me out of the corner of their eye. They can feel our motives.

I soon realized I could not stand to watch the babies leave their mamas even one more time to go to the sale barn FOR SLAUGHTER…and that I had to do something to prevent that from ever happening again. My husband had come to the end of his rope.  He was ready to sell the entire herd and get out of the business altogether because of my revulsion to the ordeal.  The idea to create my own Sanctuary to rescue all of the cows was born from this realization and I convinced my Rancher husband to work with me to make this dream a reality.  Since he was at the jumping off place and was going to sell them all anyway, I asked him if I could buy them and if he’d give me a discount.  He thought I had lost my mind, and frankly I had, but it was my only hope and because of compassionate vegans across the world, my project on indiegogo was funded early May 2015.

We are home to cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, horses and a goat. I have a passion and love for FFA students that find their compassion and are unable to go to the final process which involves slaughter of their beloved animal.  As a result of helping several of these families we are creating a program called “Families Choosing Compassion”.

So many folks have helped me get to this point and honestly reading all the news stories is the way to get the full history – you can find them all on the section in the website under – “in the news”

Recently, ABC 13 did a news story and it was picked up by ABC New York and CBS EVENING NEWS – Steve Hartman On The Road. From there the story went viral after Mercy For Animals featured the news story along with an article.  We’ve been featured twice on Care-2, One Green Planet, The Dodo, Main Street Vegan with Victoria Moran, Bob Linden and my story was added to the ranchers section gone vegan in – Free from Harm

As a side note, my husband has watched every vegan documentary I’ve put in front of him – Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Peaceable Kingdom, Planteats, Dying to Have Known, Foodmatters, The Beautiful Truth, Live and Let Live & The Witness. He is now COMPLETELY VEGAN.

This has all happened since I went Vegan in October 2014.  Visitors are coming regularly, my journal: Vegan Journal of A Ranchers Wife is now over 12,000 followers, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary page has over 15,000 followers.

This experience has transformed our lives completely.  Spiritually, I will never be the same – my destiny and calling has found me.  At the end of my rope, when nothing but divorce and 30 slaughtered cows looked like the only way, a dream was born that was bigger than anything I could have ever dreamed up on my own.  All of my skills are now being translated into veganism, animal rights, an old fashioned farm and creating lasting sanctuary for farm animals.

We are now a recognized 501C-3 Non Profit – our EIN number is:  47-3375043

We are located on Hwy 35, 50 miles southwest of Houston.

Renee’s Transformation

I am grateful to have found veganism and the animal rights movement. It has changed me at my core. It has made me question so much about myself and come to some very different conclusions about how I see the world and live my life. Veganism opened my eyes and caused me to widen my circle of compassion to include all animals—human and nonhuman. I want to fight for justice for animals of all species and people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.

The animal rights movement is rooted in reaching out to people and changing their hearts and minds about the way we treat animals. As activists, we learn that we can be most effective by meeting people where they are and helping them understand that compassion and justice should be extended to all sentient creatures. And I am one of those people. The message of compassion reached me and I am forever changed.

I didn’t always see the world the way I do now. Back in 2012 and before, I used to have very different views and beliefs, not just about the animals most people see as commodities and as food, but about other people, too. My political views used to be very different than they are today. I used to have very different views about LGBTQ issues than I do today. My former views were rooted in the biased and hateful traditions that surrounded me as I grew up and I regret having been influenced by them. I used to eat innocent animals. Now I do not. I used to fear innocent people. Now I do not.

Today I stand here in absolute solidarity and affirmation of people of every race, gender, and sexual orientation. Today I stand for justice and fairness for all oppressed people including those in the LGBTQ community and believe that love is love, pure and simple. I fight for justice for all.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can be moved by life experiences to change our hearts? The capacity within each one of us to become more compassionate and justice-driven is the very hope of the animal rights movement. Without this hope, our movement is nothing. With this hope and with the action it brings, we are changing the world to be more just and compassionate.

I am the change I want to see in the world. I am choosing love, each and every day. Love continues to transform me to help me do our work—and there is much work to do for our fellow humans and nonhumans. I hope you will join me in putting that love into action and not let the demons of our past sabotage the deeds we do today.