Meet Claudia and Beat Troxler
In 2014, Beat took over his parents' farm with 26 dairy cows, a few young cattle, and 200 fattening pigs. A year later, his phone rang and he was asked if he would sell one of his 200 fattening pigs – namely to Claudia. She’d fallen in love with the little pig and wanted to save him from certain death by finding him a home at a sanctuary. Beat immediately agreed; he was happy for the pig. Claudia invited Beat to visit the pig, who was now called Felix, at the sanctuary Gnadenhof Hodel in Aeugst am Albis. Beat immediately fell in love with a dog named Buci and adopted the Vizsla Mix from the sanctuary on the spot. Claudia and Beat attended the same dog school every week and eventually became a couple. In October 2015, Claudia moved to Beat's farm, they brought Felix back and found him a companion.
At first, Claudia only helped out on the farm on weekends, but when Beat's parents retired and stepped back more and more, Claudia quit her job and worked full-time on the farm. But as a vegetarian of many years, she found it very difficult to snatch the newborn calves from their mothers. Beat, too, began to ponder. He started changing the way the cows were fed: no imported soy, but only feeding what grew on their own farm.
The two let the mothers nurse their calves, allowed mother and calf to bond. It was nice to see how lovingly the cows took care of their offspring. But this happiness was not to last, since the calves had to leave the farm after three weeks.
One day, a special calf was born. He had several genetic defects. One of his ears was tiny, he had imbalance, and he needed help with drinking. For a full four days, this calf could not drink from his mother’s udder on his own. Claudia and Beat grew so fond of this little calf, whom they named Aurelio, that they could not give him away.
They looked for sponsors so that he could stay on the farm. And the desire arose not to have to give away any more animals. So they sought help from Sarah Heiligtag of Hof Narr, and the idea of a sanctuary was born. Since the spring/summer of 2020, no more cows have been inseminated and no more calves have been given away.
“The former pigsty is being converted into a pen for cattle, and our animal stall will soon give way to a modern pen. Our cows are not being milked anymore since we have now started producing oat milk with the help of Refarm’d. From 01/01/21, we have the intermediate bud for organic and want to grow organic oats for the plant-based drinks this autumn. We are very pleased that we will no longer have to use animals and will be able to produce something that we can stand behind 100%.
“We currently have 48 cattle (cows, calves, young cattle, oxen), 7 alpacas, 6 chickens, 1 rooster, and of course, the two pigs Felix and Nala.”