Exclusive Interview with Star of Animal Planet’s Newest Show, Saved by the Barn

Exclusive Interview with Star of Animal Planet’s Newest Show, Saved by the Barn

  • Hannah Bugga
  • Hannah Bugga

Nothing is more uplifting than watching pigs, goats, chickens, and other animals living life to the fullest! Animal Planet’s upcoming series Saved by the Barn explores life at Michigan animal sanctuary Barn Sanctuary.

The 12-part documentary series debuts on April 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern time and follows the adventures of Barn Sanctuary owner Dan McKernan. Dan left his tech job in Austin, Texas, to convert his father’s 140-year-old family farm into a sanctuary for abused and neglected animals. Throughout the series, Dan and his family adapt to life on the farm, tend to the animals in their care, and rescue other animals in need.

Barn Sanctuary executive director Kelly Holt told VegNews:

Saved by the Barn is going to be a heartwarming and uplifting series that grants everyone permission to fall in love with farmed animals in ways they never knew possible. During a challenging and scary time, our show will be a welcome reprieve for families who want a dose of positivity and hope. I can’t wait to see how many people become invested in the lives and care of our incredible family of rescued farm animals.

We reached out to Dan to learn more about the upcoming series, his life, and the animals he cares for. Here’s what he had to say:

What inspired you to leave your six-figure tech job in Austin to save farmed animals in need?

Kelly Holt, who’s now the executive director at Barn Sanctuary. Of course, there have been hundreds of activists, volunteers, and individual animals who continue inspiring me each and every day on this journey, but Kelly planted the seed. Once she opened my eyes to the plight of farmed animals, I felt morally obligated to do something for these innocent creatures who are being abused by the billions. I believe that behind every vegan is a compassionate person who inspired them to change.

Who are some of the animals we can expect to see in Saved by the Barn?

I’ve always found it fascinating how every person who visits Barn falls in love with an individual animal for the most interesting and personal reasons. Every animal at Barn Sanctuary is as unique as any human I’ve ever met, and it’s amazing to watch them pick their favorite humans. Personally, I’m partial to Mike the cow and Rose the sheep, but please don’t tell the others. However, Lola, Steve, and Ellen also have a way of stealing everyone’s hearts.

What are you hoping viewers will learn from the stories of some of the animals at your sanctuary?

To see farmed animals in a different light. Pigs, chickens, cows, goats, turkeys, and sheep all want the same thing as the dogs and cats we share our lives with—to live a life free of pain and suffering. We hope that our viewers will see that farmed animals have complex, unique, and special lives—lives worth protecting and celebrating. 

What can compassionate people do to support your lifesaving work?

Barn Sanctuary is a not-for-profit charity that is fully funded by donors who want to see a better world for animals. Without the support of our incredible donors and volunteers, we could not rescue animals and share their stories with the public at Barn Sanctuary. We encourage those who want to build a more compassionate world for animals to support our work by going to BarnSanctuary.org.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank all of our staff, volunteers, and supporters who’ve worked tirelessly to save animals and create a sanctuary that Animal Planet wanted to bring to its audience. I’d also like to thank the dozens of individuals and organizations who’ve selflessly shared their wisdom and mentored us on our shared mission to protect animals from cruelty.

Helping farmed animals—like the ones at Barn Sanctuary—is easy! Just start adding more plant-based foods to your life. Get delicious meal ideas by ordering a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today, and check us out on Pinterest for even more recipes.