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Embracing Change: How Renee King-Sonnen Transformed a Cattle Ranch into a Sanctuary



In a world where tradition often dictates action, Renee King-Sonnen's story is a breath of fresh air, showcasing the power of compassion and determination. Her journey from a Texas cattle rancher to the founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is a remarkable tale of transformation that not only challenges the norms of animal agriculture but also highlights the potential for positive change.


The Awakening


Renee’s transformation began with a profound spiritual awakening on October 31, 2014. Living on a cattle ranch with her husband Tommy, she was struck by the sentience of the animals they were raising. The bond she formed with a calf named Rowdy Girl opened her eyes to the harsh realities of animal agriculture. Renee recalls,

“All of the oppression that was stored up in me, all the things that had been stored up and causing me to have so much immense suffering and problems exploded on Halloween of 2014.”

This pivotal moment marked the beginning of her journey towards veganism and animal advocacy.


Building Rowdy Girl Sanctuary


Driven by her newfound compassion, Renee embarked on a mission to turn their cattle ranch into a sanctuary. The transition wasn’t easy.

“I fundraised like a crazy person,”

she admits, raising $36,000 to buy her husband’s herd and prevent them from going to slaughter. With guidance from Kip Anderson, the producer of Cowspiracy, and legal help from Drew Alexis, Renee established Rowdy Girl Sanctuary as a nonprofit on February 20, 2015. This achievement was a testament to her relentless determination and the power of community support.


Insights You'll Gain From This Episode


  1. The Power of Compassion: Renee’s story illustrates how compassion can drive significant change, even in the most entrenched industries.

  2. Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Her relentless fundraising and determination show the importance of perseverance.

  3. Community and Collaboration: The support Renee received from the vegan community and animal welfare advocates highlights the strength in collaboration.

  4. Innovative Thinking: Transforming a cattle ranch into a sanctuary required innovative thinking and a willingness to challenge the status quo.

  5. Impact Beyond Borders: Renee’s efforts extend globally, as she participates in educational efforts to promote animal welfare worldwide.


Key Takeaways from the Episode


  • Transformation through Compassion: Renee’s journey from cattle rancher to sanctuary founder showcases the transformative power of compassion and empathy. She shares, “These animals were like friends and family. They had become like your dogs and cats to me.”

  • Overcoming Challenges: Establishing Rowdy Girl Sanctuary required overcoming numerous challenges, from fundraising to legal hurdles. “We have to appeal to our government. We have to surround the Capitol. We need staffers, we need lobbyists in our government that are vegan,” Renee emphasizes.

  • Building a Community: The importance of building a supportive community and network to achieve seemingly impossible goals is evident in Renee’s journey.

  • Advocacy and Education: Renee’s work extends beyond the sanctuary, advocating for changes in animal welfare laws and educating others on sustainable practices.

  • Continuous Growth: Despite her success, Renee emphasizes the need for continuous learning and adaptation in her mission to promote compassion and sustainability.


Business Lessons from Renee’s Journey


  1. Follow Your Passion: Let your passion guide you, even if it means challenging the status quo.

  2. Build a Strong Network: Surround yourself with supportive and knowledgeable people who can help you achieve your goals.

  3. Embrace Change: Don’t be afraid to pivot and adapt when faced with new insights and challenges.

  4. Fundraise Relentlessly: Be prepared to work tirelessly to secure the resources needed for your mission.

  5. Educate and Advocate: Use your platform to educate others and advocate for broader systemic change.


Renee King-Sonnen’s story is a testament to the impact one person can have when driven by compassion and determination. Her journey from a cattle rancher to the founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary inspires us all to consider the power of empathy and the potential for change in our own lives and businesses.


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Episode’s Transcript

Please understand that a transcription service provided the transcript below. It undoubtedly contains errors that invariably take place in voice transcriptions.


Bryan (00:01)

Hello everybody and welcome to Plant Based on Fire where we talk about plant based businesses and their inspiring stories to thrive in the industry. I'm your host Bryan and we would love more support for this podcast by hitting that subscribe button below or following and sharing it with your friends. And let us know some comments on what you think about today's episode. The comments fuel the magic algorithm and help us reach more and more people.


I'm so excited today to introduce you to Renee King -Sonnen She is the founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, the first beef cattle ranch vegan conversion in the history of Texas, the United States, and probably the whole world. So welcome to the show, Renee.


Renee King Sonnen (00:46)

Thank you so, so much, Bryan. Yeah.


Bryan (00:50)

I first heard about you with Brett Kristoffel, I think, from All Y 'all's Foods. And I know he's a big supporter of you. So thank him for introducing you and me together here a little bit, because I'm up in North Carolina. And I lived in Texas way back when for a year or so. But I think you're doing amazing things down in the big meat eater state.


Renee King Sonnen (01:00)

really?


So y 'all interviewed Brett.


Bryan (01:19)

Yeah, we had one of, he was one of our first guests way back when, so.


Renee King Sonnen (01:25)

Wow, yeah, we love, love, love, love Brett. He is a big supporter of ours, yeah.


Bryan (01:31)

That's awesome. But for those people that might not be familiar with Rowdy Girl Sanctuary and stuff, take us back in time and tell us a little bit of your story and that pivotal moment when you said, look, we've got to turn this cattle ranch into a vegan sanctuary.


Renee King Sonnen (01:50)

Okay, well that was about 10 years ago. And sometimes it feels like yesterday, other times it feels like I've been doing nothing else. The work is all consuming and massive. 10 years ago, October 31st, 2014 is when I went vegan on a cattle ranch. It was on Halloween. Halloween, it was...


Super scary. It really, really was. Prior to October 31st, Tommy Saundon and I were married for the second time living on a small cattle ranch in Angleton, Texas, 96 acres. And we had remarried in 2010. I moved in with him in 2009. We had been married 10 years prior to that and we divorced.


That's another story, but we married, we were living on the cattle ranch. I was producing music, selling real estate, doing what I do. And Tommy was working on the cattle ranch, working at Dow Chemical, trying to make a living for us, trying to make a career, you know, a security nest for us so that when we retired, we were going to have, you know, a way to take care of ourselves and, you know, and also have, you know, a good time in our retirement. That was the plan.


Bryan (03:17)

Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (03:18)

But what he didn't plan on is me falling in love with the cows and me disrupting his whole way of life. So that's what happened. I began to have real problems with the fact that he was sending the animals to the cell barn. I began to notice things I wasn't supposed to notice. You know, maybe you notice them but you don't say nothing.


So I began to notice things and talk about it really loud. And I wasn't a vegan. I was just like, why do we do this? Why do we do that? How come we don't do this? How come, you know, I just, I began to, I mean, I was always that kid too, wanting to know everything, wanting to understand everything around me. And this was no different. You know, I'd never lived on a cattle ranch before. I didn't want to participate or help my husband. So what he did to get my involvement is he told me about these baby calves that needed a mama.


Bryan (03:44)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (04:14)

I went, I looked at these calves because I'd never had any children. And I purchased these two calves for $300 a piece. One of them was Rowdy Girl. And Rowdy Girl is the one that opened my eyes to all of the sentience in the herd. And I, little baby Bobo died very young. She had a failure to thrive disease, didn't even make it probably past a week. But Rowdy Girl became my reason for getting up in the morning. She became the reason I jumped up, jumped up.


you know, went out there running in the pasture to feed her, whether it was raining, whether it was hot, whether it was cold, she became my baby. And when I was feeding her, I was also being spiritually fed and awakened to the sentience of all the other cows. And I began to see things I'd never seen before. I began to deepen my concerns for the work we were doing.


you know, in Tommy's face, I got really upset. I cried a lot when the animals would go to the cell barn. I cried because all the mamas would cry and I wasn't a vegan. I was just having having a awakening and I didn't know I was having an awakening. I know that now, but at the time I thought I was going crazy. So, so all that led up to.


Bryan (05:27)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (05:35)

The big, big, big, you know, this was, this started happening in 2010. I went vegan October of 14. So all those years, all I did was go crazy until the point that I finally couldn't take it anymore. But see, what I didn't do, what I never did was plan to go vegan. You know, even the day I went vegan, the day before I wasn't planning to go vegan.


All of the oppression that was stored up in me, all the things that had been stored up and causing me to have so much immense suffering and problems exploded on Halloween of 2014. And that's when I told my mother -in -law, my husband, everybody at a big gathering, she was serving stew meat. And I had been watching slaughterhouse videos one after the other.


and I stumbled on a Melanie Joy dissertation on carnism. And it was on that video where I learned that the, you're like stew meat, like if people eat a big old bowl of stew, well, this family was eating a bowl of stew and Dr. Melanie Joy was doing this thing. And the mother, the lady of the house says, well, you know, everybody eat, you know, and somebody says, well, what's the recipe? And the lady said, well, you start off with a pound of very young golden retriever. And so,


Bryan (06:34)

Ahem.


Renee King Sonnen (07:02)

The idea of eating a chopped up dead dog, a puppy dog, all of a sudden it just blew my brain apart. That was on October 31st, 2014, that day I was going vegan and didn't know it. So I saw that, prior to that, I had been watching slaughterhouse videos, trying to wake up, trying to understand what we were doing, trying to make sense of all the stuff. And then that evening, when we went to my mother -in -law's house, she was serving beef stew. And I...


Bryan (07:03)

Heheheheh


Renee King Sonnen (07:31)

I literally, all I could see was chopped up dead animals in a bowl. I didn't see stew. I saw chopped up dead bodies in a bowl. I said it out loud. I told my mother -in -law I can't eat that. And she said, why? And I said, because it's got chopped up dead animals in it and I can't eat it. Everybody in the room stopped talking. Everybody looked at me like I had cussed my mother -in -law out because I called it out on the carpet.


I called out from, it wasn't stew meat to me anymore. It was chopped up dead bodies, dead bodies. And so everybody was like, my God. Well, that moment I said, my mother -in -law said, Renee, why can't you just pick it out? And I said, there's no more picking it out for me. So that was the moment I slid down the rabbit hole. I went vegan on the spot. I know that's when I went vegan because I remember it was kind of like,


Bryan (08:07)

Yeah.


Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (08:29)

It was kind of like the way a vampire must feel when they become a vampire. They just, all of a sudden they go from being a normal human to being a blood sucker, you know? And I went from being a blood sucker to a plant sucker. So there you go.


Bryan (08:44)

I love it. I mean, such a powerful story. I took a longer time to it. Like I started vegetarian for the health reasons and stuff. And then just the more I unpacked it and researched it and then just like, man, I got to just give up the milk and the cheese and the ice cream and find alternatives to that. So it took me a longer journey, but I hear so many stories like yours where it's just like the light bulb clicked and you switch. And so such a powerful story.


This is for the business owner. This podcast is really for the business side of this kind of thing. So you have this beautiful transformation. And then how did that, that sort of awakening that you just described translate into saying like, I want to create an animal sanctuary and ask a whole bunch of people that donate money and time and help, you know, you know, be this amazing cause in Texas. And as a beacon, in my opinion, for the whole United States to say, look, we've got to do something to help the animals.


Renee King Sonnen (09:40)

Well, I didn't do it for business reasons. So, I mean, I did it because my husband was gonna send all the animals to slaughter because I had gone vegan on a cattle ranch and he didn't know what he was gonna do because once I went vegan on a cattle ranch, it totally disrupted his way of life. Not only was I asking him lots of questions like I was prior to going vegan and didn't know I was going vegan, I began making real demands on him.


Bryan (09:43)

Great.


Renee King Sonnen (10:10)

And they were real demands. I said, you will not bring animal products in this house anymore. We're gonna take down all the deer heads, all the animal heads in our house, and we're gonna have a funeral for them all. And we're gonna dig a big hole, and poor man, and my God, I just, I made his life so miserable. So I wasn't planning a business. I was trying to disrupt all those cows that I'd fallen in love with from going to slaughter.


Bryan (10:31)

Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (10:39)

And so this wasn't a business.


Bryan (10:41)

But you, I mean, every business has these value propositions, right? I mean, like, it's a business now to a degree, right? You're a nonprofit, you do accept donations, you do take in new animals and stuff like that. You've figured out some way to... Right, yeah, totally. But like, I'm curious how that evolved kind of a thing because like before you would buy the young cows or birth them and then raise them and sell them for money.


Renee King Sonnen (10:55)

Now we do! But it did start out half -half -


Bryan (11:10)

and now you've flipped this around. So hopefully, I certainly hope you're making enough money to pay for food and chip away a little bit into your retirement.


Renee King Sonnen (11:17)

Yeah, because I fundraised like a crazy person. I fundraised like crazy, but I didn't start out. So the question you asked me was how did you start? It didn't start out that way. Yeah.


Bryan (11:22)

Right, right.


Yeah.


So you got started here. Yeah, talk to us about like when was it like, we've got to incorporate this as a nonprofit. What was that moment?


Renee King Sonnen (11:38)

Well, what happened was I began to realize I needed to buy the cows, okay?


Bryan (11:49)

You can only nag your husband so long before he's like, look, I gotta make money, right?


Renee King Sonnen (11:54)

Yeah, so I finally, I was talking behind the scenes. He didn't know it. Kip Anderson, who wrote Cowspiracy, I mean, he was the producer of Cowspiracy, What the Hell, you know, C -spiracy and the current Christspiracy. He's on our board of directors now. He's been with us for many, many years. But Kip had reached out to me. I didn't know who he was at the time. This was a long time ago, because he heard about me on the Beacon Journal of a Cattle Rancher's Wife whenever I was trying to...


Bryan (12:04)

Mm -hmm.


Great.


Renee King Sonnen (12:21)

figure out what to do. My husband was gonna send all these cows to the sale barn. He was gonna sell, get out of the business. And they were no longer a business to me. These animals were like friends and family. They had become like your dogs and cats to me. And I did not see that happening. And so I was appealing to the vegan world that I was just getting to know. I just become one myself. I didn't know that all these vegans were out there, you know? And so everybody started wanting to know about my story on that vegan journal.


which eventually became Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. So the big journal of a cattle rancher's wife is where I met Kippa Anderson. And Kippa Anderson reached out to me and said, what is going on? And he wanted to know how he could help. And I said, well, you know, I'm trying to figure out how to buy my husband's cows and yada, yada, yada. He said, why don't you, you know, start a fundraiser and I'll show you how to do it. And so he had just raised all this money for cow spheresy. And so he...


Bryan (12:54)

I love it.


Renee King Sonnen (13:19)

told me what he did and I did it. And in less than four months, I bought my husband's herd and started, you know, the first ever, you know, documented beef counter -wrapped in the world. I mean, really, it's the first one in the world that became a sanctuary that we know of unless somebody's done it and just didn't tell us. But anyway, so from there, I knew I needed to start once I got the animals, I had to feed them, you know, and we had to castrate the males. We had to figure out how to...


Bryan (13:30)

I love it.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (13:48)

do all these things because we were having babies and you know everything was happening like you know we weren't sending them to the cell bar we weren't making any money we were just making more babies there and they had to be fed they had to be taken care of and so I began to speak to a guy named Drew Alexis. Drew used to be the main attorney for Farm Sanctuary and they Farm Sanctuary let Drew help us at the time he's no longer working there but


Bryan (13:51)

Right? Yeah.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (14:18)

So Drew became like my angel. He told me exactly what I needed to do. He came and visited us, actually boots on the ground like four months in. And he told me that we need, or maybe it was just two or three months in. And he told me to make sure we were the real deal. And he told me what I needed to do to become a nonprofit. Because he said, Renee, if you're going to support yourself, you're either going to have to A, be a business or B, become a nonprofit.


Bryan (14:22)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (14:48)

And I said, I don't know anything about nonprofits. And he said, well, I will teach you. So he taught me the ropes. He taught me everything. We got our nonprofit status February 20th, 2015. Not too long after I went vegan. I went out vegan on COVID 31st, year prior, February, 2015, we're a nonprofit official and I'm fundraising and I'm creating a membership program and I'm doing everything I can to take care of the animals. That's how it started.


Bryan (15:02)

Yeah.


I love it.


I love you. It's such an amazing story and like I hope I hope your whole thing gets turned into a movie or a really awesome book. Really, really soon. Yeah. And it's it's that that that's well, let's make sure it's in the show notes because I have not watched yours. I just rewatched Dominion again and gosh, that's.


Renee King Sonnen (15:25)

Idiot.


It is.


No, I mean, it is, it is. There's a documentary, which I think you know about, right? There's a movie in the works. There's a movie in the works. And there's a book written that's being shopped to publish.


Bryan (15:42)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I believe so. Yeah.


So you are you are well well well on your way and it just like I try and reinforce this with the businesses that I sort of coach and guide a little bit is like You've done this part of your career You're doing that particular and you can totally stop and pivot at any moment in time If you've got the passion and the drive to just sort of see that through I absolutely love that so You answered so many of my other couple questions. Let me just scan through my list of questions here and sort of say


I have two other questions as well. So you went through this transformation process fairly rapidly. What was the local community's response and reaction? And then talk to me about the Rancher Advocacy Program.


Renee King Sonnen (16:33)

The local community, you know, we were cattle ranchers. We looked like cattle ranchers. We talked like cattle ranchers. We lived like cattle ranchers. So the only thing that was different was that we weren't sending animals to sell anymore. We were still buying feed at the feed store. We're still buying hay from the farmers and ranchers that grow hay. We're still asking cattle ranchers to help us.


We know when we're, you know, evacuating from floods and need help, you know, it was always the cattle ranchers that came to help us. It wasn't ever the vegans. Not that I don't love vegans, I do, but they're not gonna come riding in on a horse like cattle ranchers will to help us round up cows that are gonna drown if we don't get them out of a flood. Okay? And so, you know, we never really had bad rapport with cattle ranchers. A lot of people think we did or do.


Bryan (17:12)

Heheheheh.


That's right.


Renee King Sonnen (17:28)

It's so interesting, you know, Cattle Ranchers are not bad people. Cattle Ranchers are in a system. They're in a system of violence. They're in a belief system that is created by Big Ag. You know, they're just doing what they've done all their life. You know, and yeah, they were curious about us, but you know, we'd sit at the coffee shop or at the little Mexican food restaurant having, you know, our potato tacos while they ate their menudo.


and we would just have conversations with them. We weren't ostracized because we weren't your typical card -carrying, poster -carrying vegan in the street. We were cattle ranchers that went vegan. So they just were curious. We were like an anomaly. And so, yeah, I mean, we talk to them. We are always, you know, like, my husband's building a fence on the back 40 out here, you know, on our place, and there's another cattle ranch on the other side. And so they're helping, they're building a fence together, you know, the other side. And...


Bryan (17:59)

Mm -hmm.


I love it.


Renee King Sonnen (18:25)

And I walk up and my meat is murder cap and you know, and my, you know, whatever. And they all know me. It's just, we're an anomaly.


Bryan (18:29)

You


Yeah, yeah, I love it. I love it. Well, well, well done on that front.


Renee King Sonnen (18:38)

You know who we have the most problem with is crazy vegans, not cattle ranchers.


Bryan (18:43)

That's probably true. There are some extremists on all different sides of the fence for sure. Well, what is the Rancher Advocacy Program and what is its objectives?


Renee King Sonnen (18:49)

Yeah.


With Rancher Advocacy Program, again, it's another, it's a program of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. And just like Rowdy Girl Sanctuary started from a passionate place in my heart, so did RAP. RAP was born, not created. I mean, I didn't like purposely write a business plan for RAP either. RAP was a result of cattle ranchers and their wives and families reaching out to me to figure out how they could do something different. You know,


Bryan (19:04)

Mm -hmm.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (19:26)

We transitioned our cattle ranch to a nonprofit. It is a model. It works for us. If you're a cattle rancher out there and you have a great acumen for fundraising, for being out front, for being in the public, for being able to create a business where you have employees, to boots on the ground, so you can go out and do the work to continue fundraising, to create a legacy, then creating a sanctuary is a model for you. But if you're not that cattle rancher,


you're the kind of cattle rancher that just wants to be on the farm and pass that down, then you're going to have to figure out how to make money. Unfortunately, we don't live in a world that teaches cattle ranchers how to do anything, or chicken farmers, or goat farmers, except how to farm animals. And so that's a system that's been, it's like the tentacles of that system.


is in our government, it's in our religion, it's in our education, it's in our schools, it's in everything. The whole system of violence that's normalized to create food out of animals' bodies and their excretions is something that you cannot easily overtopple in turn because it's entrenched in our society and in our government and our schools and churches and the places we live at home.


Bryan (20:42)

Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (20:52)

So what WRAP is, has become, you know, WRAP started out with me on a mission to help find money for cattle ranchers to transition their farm from chicken farms to mushroom farms, from cattle ranchers to, you know, open, you know, these containers where they can grow all kinds of food, whatever. It started out like that. What I learned in working with,


Bryan (21:18)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (21:22)

farmers and also investors and philanthropists is that can't, is not sustainable. We cannot get money endlessly from private funders and philanthropy and investors to transition our farmers in our world. It is going to require a change in our government. And so RAP has gone from really working on that,


Bryan (21:39)

Mm -hmm.


Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (21:47)

and actually achieving some measure of success in a pilot program where a chicken farm did actually grow mushrooms in a pilot program, but it couldn't be sustained. Even though that's still a possibility, and I still believe in it, until we change the real problem, all we're doing is putting band -aids on things. Because unless a farmer has the ability themselves,


Bryan (22:00)

Mm -hmm.


Mm -hmm.


Yeah. Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (22:17)

to do what they can do to make the changes like we did. I mean, I would have gone, I went to any length to do what we did. Farmers, unless they have that kind of commitment to transition farms, it's just gonna be, it's daunting.


Bryan (22:36)

my goodness, for sure. Yeah. And you see it in the government subsidy programs and the laws and everything. I mean, I volunteer at my church and they they do they bring them into to God scenario and we'll have a big meat party and eat meat. And I'm like, that's the one thing I'm not volunteering for this this year at church. And so. Yeah, I'm vegan at the church, right, and trying to advocate for that and.


Renee King Sonnen (22:58)

So you're a vegan in your church?


Bryan (23:05)

But it's interesting to see how you're transitioning that program. And I do think we have to be those louder voices that try to change the laws, change the guidance, and just change the stigma. And I think, unfortunately, the environmental crisis and some of those other things are going to be the one that really bops us on the head in a big, big way. But you've done some amazing collaborations to help get the word out.


How do you think the documentary and some of the other bigger things that you've been involved in has helped spread your message?


Renee King Sonnen (23:39)

it's just amazing what's happening. The grassroots opportunity whenever I go to do with Jason Goldman, who's the director and producer of Rowdy Girl, he's a genius. When we go together and we're at Q &As, the questions that come out, especially around the chicken farm, when those come up, it gives me an opportunity to really talk about the real problem in our world. I mean,


Bryan (23:50)

Mm -hmm.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (24:08)

If I told you how much money I put in that farm through funding, through philanthropy and investment, I mean, it's in the millions, you know, that I was able to get through me to another farm, right? To appeal, I appealed, I begged, it happened, but it couldn't be sustained. So to be able to talk about that at these Q &As.


Bryan (24:20)

Mm -hmm.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (24:37)

to be able to talk about the real problem in like, you know, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, New York City, you know, Sedona, wherever we are in the world and to appeal to the local community. Get your grassroots people together. Appeal to your governments. We have to appeal to our government. We have to surround the Capitol. I mean, we've got to, we've got to disrupt this from the inside. We need staffers, we need lobbyists in our government that are vegan.


Bryan (24:59)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (25:07)

that care about animals, not just care about the money, that really care about the animals and the planet we're leaving to generations after us. If we don't have staffers and lobbyists in our local governments, in our federal governments, we will not be able to change the system. So get in there, get her done. You know, it takes all of us.


Bryan (25:08)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.


Mm -hmm. Yes.


Absolutely, absolutely. This has just been an awesome, awesome discussion. What are some of the longer term goals for Rady Sanctuary and the broader movement that you're trying to create here? You've got your fingers in so many different things, but what are some of the hopes and dreams for your bigger, longer term goals?


Renee King Sonnen (25:49)

Well, we're building a medical treatment facility. It's a 100 foot by 80 foot medical treatment facility so that we can be a beacon of hope for veterinarians that are thinking about going vegan, not eating their patients. If there's people, I'm sorry, I had to say that. So if there's veterinarians out there that are looking to find a way to take care of aging bovine, like we have a 25 year old cow that's blind, that has arthritis, I mean.


Bryan (26:04)

No, it's so true.


Renee King Sonnen (26:16)

your larger animal vets, you know, they have food departments for animals like that. They don't have like traditional, you know, wellness checks and wellness checkups and all for cows. They just, they just don't. It's a different world, you know, cause they, we eat them. And so, and so we're creating a medical treatment facility. We're in our third phase and it's going to be an amazing thing. Go to our website to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter to learn more. We are,


Bryan (26:27)

Yeah.


Renee King Sonnen (26:44)

You know, I just finished my book about a year ago, a secret diary of a cattle rancher's wife. United Talon Agency Bird Level is my agent and it's gonna be shopped to major publishers. The documentary Rowdy Girl, of course, is on a national and international tour actually. And then the movie is being written, you know, the producers are Kip.


Anderson, Cameron Waters, and Roger Wolfson and I, we are producing this. The treatment, the first treatment is already finished. And so it'll be being shopped as well to become a major film. So these are things that are on the horizon. This is awesome stuff. And also, you know, I'm doing whatever I can globally because see the microcosm is I take care of animals on the ground here at Rowdy Girl.


Bryan (27:26)

Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (27:37)

I train our staff to make sure they are looking for things I would look for because I can't be both boots on the ground doing all the work here. I gotta make sure our animals are good here. They know what to do. Everything is in place here so that I can go out in the world and educate. You think about what's going on in Kathmandu this year, Nepal, the big Gautama festival that slaughters thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of animals.


every five years in one fell swoop, thousands of animals are slaughtered for religious ritual, really? And so I'm involved even in discussions about how I can help be used to help educate people in other countries.


Bryan (28:15)

Mm -hmm.


I love it. I absolutely love it. I'm going to get a new bumper sticker, Renee for president. You know what I mean?


Renee King Sonnen (28:35)

You know how many people tell me that? I cannot even... Every time somebody says that, I say, I don't want that job because the minute you become a president, unless they disrupt the whole system. Now, if the whole system says, I do not want to... But it would be funny, wouldn't it? It would be funny.


Bryan (28:46)

Yeah.


Yeah, yeah, I hope in an alternative universe you are totally president and taking taking this to the next level for us like but I really commend you on all the amazing things that you've accomplished and so many more you have in progress I feel like I'm a busy guy with so many different things I have going on and and you make me feel like I'm paling in comparison So congrats on how you're keeping all these balls juggling. I have to say though like I


where this podcast is listened to by a lot of plant -based businesses and entrepreneurs and stuff. So if you were to take a moment and reflect back on your journey, is there anything that you would do differently or what would you recommend for other entrepreneurs or sanctuary starting people, et cetera, et cetera, that could help you not make some of these mistakes or hiccups that you did along the way to help them go faster and help change the world quicker?


Renee King Sonnen (29:46)

Wow, what a great question, Bryan. You know, one of the things I would recommend to people that want to start a sanctuary is, you know, is know who's in the world, know all the sanctuaries, get role models, get mentors, find people you can talk to. I mean, I did all those things. It really, really helped me a lot, but stay and stay and do what they say.


Bryan (29:49)

Heheheheh


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (30:14)

You know, don't be afraid to grow. You know, sanctuary founders can't stay the animal caretakers forever. If they're gonna grow, they've gotta be able to do the work that they're called to do in their mission, whatever that is, which involves a ton of fundraising. It just does. If you're gonna really, for us, our mission is so huge.


that we, it takes a lot of, it takes a lot of fundraising. It takes a lot of members. We have 702 members. I would say, you know, if you're out there wanting to change the world with a sanctuary, you know, establish a strong membership base. You know, we have 702 members. Know what you need. You know, we need 800 members by the end of this year. Ask for it. Don't be afraid to ask for money. You're not asking so you can go to the nail salon and get your nails done. You don't see any nails here. You know what you do see is a lacerated finger. And so,


Bryan (31:03)

Mm -hmm.


I was gonna say, yeah, you got a bandaid instead.


Renee King Sonnen (31:10)

You know, it's like, you know, you've got to ask for what you need. You got to know what you need. You got to have, you got to have CPAs around you. You got to have bookkeepers around you. You got to have marketing people around you. You got to have development consultants around you. You got to have people that know how to do the work to keep you going so you can get out there and do what you got to do. If I've told you.


There's so many people that I know and I'm happy to help people. If people call, I help. I'm never ever inaccessible. People a lot of times think, you're too busy. You want to, I don't even use the word too busy. Anybody out there that thinks they're too busy, come talk to me and you will see that even though I am very productive, I get a lot done. It's because I stay plugged in to the power of this world. Whatever that power is, universal God power. I'm very spiritual girl. And I...


Bryan (31:53)

Hehehe.


Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (32:06)

I can't do this by myself. I cannot up myself. I am fricking nothing. I stay plugged in and I'm on fire because the source that rushes through me is endless.


Bryan (32:09)

Great.


I love it. I want more and more energy like you. You're totally inspiring me in a big, big way. And I want to help you get to 800. So how can the community help and what are the best ways to get in touch?


Renee King Sonnen (32:35)

The way that you can help is go to rowdygirlsanctuary .org slash membership if you want to become a member. And you can join at any level, $5 a month, $200 a month. We have them all the way from there to there. And then you get to join our Rowdy Club and we have a quarterly meetup and we meet up, all our members have the opportunity to meet with Tommy and I every quarter. It's a lot of fun.


you know, members are on my phone. I mean, I, I speed dial them. I have, you know, I send personal cards. I sit down personally every week and write thank you cards to every member when they reach milestones. I can't tell you how many people tell me, Renee, I don't know anybody that does that. I sit down and with my hand, write and pray every time I send a card out. So,


Y 'all become a member, join an organization that not only is changing the world, changing boots on the ground, but we actually really, really, really, really care about every single person that's in our club. I mean, it's our radical, you become like a member of our herd.


Bryan (33:50)

I love it. That's awesome. So please everybody go and check out rowdygirlsanctuary .org where you can help support Renee and her mission and her huge team of people changing the world in gosh, countless ways that we've unpacked here today. That is just so, so, so powerful. So thank you so much for Renee for taking a few minutes out of the schedule to chat with us and help get the word out to our listeners.


I know you've inspired me and you've given me a couple ideas that I want to take back to my business and try and drive it forward as well. So we will, just the concept of the fundraising pieces of this, because even with the real many plants, like we're hoping to sell advertisements and things like that in the future, but honestly, you know, maybe volunteers just want to help donate some money because they love watching these kinds of episodes where you,


Renee King Sonnen (34:23)

What? I want to know!


Bryan (34:45)

have such a passion and stuff. So can I get a small membership base to help fund all the cool work we're doing over here at the real men eat plants side of things. But we have to lock arms together, just like you said, and get people like me and you together to spark each other's interest, to keep the movement moving forward, to see how we can collaborate and help each other. So I thoroughly love your advice of reach out to a network, get some trusted advisors, and just keep going, because we can be.


Renee King Sonnen (35:12)

Yet we have a board of directors. You have to have a board of directors. You have to have advisors. And the other thing we're doing this year that I didn't tell you that I think is really, really crucial too, if you want to do this, is like, you have to have something, you have to have a plan every quarter that you're wanting to do to bring people around. Like, you know, end of year is going to be big, you know, we're going to be building, making a new calendar for end of year, you know, with all featuring our animals, we're building a new website. I mean, all that kind of good stuff, you know, you've got to always keep things fresh, moving, and you can't do that.


Bryan (35:15)

That's right. Mm -hmm.


Yeah.


Mm -hmm.


Renee King Sonnen (35:41)

If you're the one, if you're wanting to start a sanctuary, you can't do all these things into the future if you're the one that's having to clean a water bowl. It's not that I don't want to clean water bowls. I love to clean water bowls and feed animals. That makes me happier than being with the animals and I make time for that. But it can't be my 100 % job if I'm gonna grow.


Bryan (35:51)

That's right.


That's right. I love it. Well, well said. So thank you again, Renee, for being here. That's all the time we have for this episode of the Plant Based on Fire podcast. My goodness, Renee, you've got so much wisdom in there. I'm going to have to watch this episode back again, take a couple of notes. I wasn't taking them quick enough. So I really, really appreciate you being here. And until next time, everybody, please keep that fire burning.


Renee King Sonnen (36:17)

So glad!



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