Wife Corrals Texas Cattle Rancher Into Becoming Vegan

"I refused to let my husband send off my cows for slaughter," wife said.

ByKaylee Heck
May 21, 2015, 1:38 PM

— -- A family cattle ranch run by a fourth-generation farmer has gone from raising cattle for slaughter into a vegan sanctuary for their herd.

Tommy Sonnen bought his 96-acre farm in Angleton, Texas, 11 years ago and convinced his wife, Renee, to join the ranch life. They got divorced but then remarried one another about six years ago, but not before Tommy’s wife started learning about the vegan lifestyle.

Renee said she couldn’t stand the red trailer leaving every six months to take the next round of calves to the slaughterhouse because of the bonds she made with them.

“I started gaining insight into their souls and naturally started gravitating to the animals in a loving way,” said Renee. “The mother cows would cry into the night and I’d go out and cry with them even at midnight.”

PHOTO: Tommy Sonnen and part of the herd.
Tommy Sonnen and part of the herd.
Courtesy Renee King-Sonnen

That’s when Renee said she needed her husband to make a change, so she gave him an ultimatum: another divorce or become a vegan.

“I put him between a rock and a hard place,” said Renee. “I made him decide if the cows were more precious than me.”

Renee said her husband offered for her to buy the 29-cow herd from him for $30,000. She raised the money through an online campaign in under four months.

PHOTO: Part of the herd at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary.
Part of the herd at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary.
Renee King-Sonnen

Her once steak-eating husband is now 99.99 percent vegan with the exception of his old leather boots and the occasional “accident” from not reading a food label, according to Renee.

“He did it kicking and screaming but he did it. He’ll finally admit it out loud he feels better,” said Renee, who went fully vegan last October.

PHOTO: Renee King-Sonnen and her cow, Rowdy.
Renee King-Sonnen and her cow, Rowdy.
Courtesy Tommy Sonnen

They’ve turned their ranch into the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary and submitted paperwork to become a non-profit organization.

The last red trailer left the ranch in February 2014 and Renee said it’s never coming back.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events