Big oaks 02.JPG (copy)

Big Oaks Rescue Farm mostly handles horses, such as Clyde in his stall in this photo from July, but all manner of animals make their way to the rescue farm for care, such as Earlene the turkey.

Big Oaks Rescue Farm has canceled its barbecue fundraiser after a Facebook post advertising the fundraiser went viral and attracted protestors.

The barbecue fundraiser is off, but Mary Moss, who leads the farm, said there will still be a fundraiser on Oct. 30 and 31, sans barbecue, showing people how the farm operates.

Big Oaks was going to have a fundraiser selling pulled pork and chicken plates to help with the purchase of hay, feed and other items for the farm animals there.

Moss went to a different fundraiser with pulled pork and chicken, and the person who cooked for that offered to do the same for Big Oaks.

“So we made up fliers and I posted it on my website and it just fell apart,” said Moss.

The post ruffled the feathers of some vegans, and many flocked to Big Oaks’ page to share opinions — many unkind or untruthful — about the fundraiser.

“Then they came on my website and ridiculed me,” Moss said. “And they don’t know me. I’ve been getting phone calls, I’ve been getting emails, I’ve been getting text messages, I mean they’ve called me every name in the book.”

Multiple posts about the subject garnered a thousand-plus comments of people criticizing the fundraiser and the rescue and other people defending the farm.

A new post about canceling the fundraiser still has some detractors, but also includes plenty of comments from supporters urging Moss to “stay the course.”

“You have more positive supporters than you do negative ones,” one comment states.

Moss said about canceling the barbecue that she isn't going to put the farm, animals or herself in a situation where people are going to try to get her closed down or get the animals taken.

"This is my passion and this is what God’s led me to do," she said.

Moss said it means the world to her she has so many backers in Greenwood and surrounding counties “that support me and love me and know what I do and they know I do it seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

"I’m here, rain sleet or snow, so yes I greatly appreciate them more than they will ever know.”

People in the area, she said, are generous, loving people who care and back the farm.

“That means the world to me,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for any more than that from these people.”

Greenwood resident Trey Ward is trying to support Moss and the farm, and encouraged people to report the trolls and donate to the farm.

The work Big Oaks does can’t be easily replaced, he said.

He acknowledged that it may be a paradox to have a barbecue for an animal rescue, but said of the work Big Oaks does: “It’s important and those people are just missing the forest for the trees.”

Contact staff writer Lindsey Hodges at 864-943-5644 or on Twitter @LindseyNHodges.

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