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Interviews

37 | Farm Sanctuary & Compassionate Living | with Gene Baur


I am so excited to introduce a great friend of mine, Gene Baur. Gene is the founder of Farm Sanctuary, which he founded by rescuing animals that had either been abused or neglected, and began to bring them to his home. Farm Sanctuary is dedicated to protect farm animals from cruelty, to inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and to promote compassionate vegan living.

What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the animal advocacy movement?

There’s a huge rise in products that are supporting the vegan movement, which only contributes to our goal at Farm Sanctuary. Obviously I want people to show up at the poles and vote with their voice, but every single day we vote with our dollar and our choices, and that’s huge as well.

How do you deal with the very black and white activists?

It is challenging, but very common in big movements. It’s healthy to have varying opinions. What is difficult is when people within the same movement attack one another over the strength of each of our opinions. The best practice that I have is recognizing that each of us need to make our own choice on how we proceed.

How do you take care of yourself?

The serenity prayer helps me, because witnessing violence and cruelty over the years can be crippling. I try not to dwell on what I can’t do, but focus and build on the positive that we can do.

What does movement look like for you?

Running is a way for me to burn off both steam and energy. I’ve done marathons, triathlons, and have trained for an Iron Man. I am looking into doing yoga, because I know I need something less harsh on my body.

How do you share the benefits of going vegan?

There’s an inconsistency between our values and our behaviors, and this disconnect is be=ig for so many people. Once everyone recognizes the disconnect, and they realign with their values, they’ll feel better all around. Most people who stop eating animal products also notice differences in how they are feeling once they remove the product from their life.

What kinds of legal protections do farm animals have and not have?

Most states have anti-cruelty laws, but most states also have acceptions for farm animals. Farm animals are actually excluded from the Federal Animal Welfare Act, while chickens and other birds are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act. This means the vast majority of animals have no legal protection at the slaughterhouse.

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