Friends Not Food: Gene Baur on Living the Farm Sanctuary Life

Gene Baur at Colorado College

Gene Baur at Colorado College

Last fall I had the privilege of seeing Gene Baur present to a group at Colorado College. He spoke about the incredible experiences he has had since founding Farm Sanctuary, and his stories were so moving that they have stuck with me months later after his talk.

Gene spoke of the harrowing aspects of rescuing farm animals, and told us stories that brought me to tears. My tears turned into laughter when Gene talked about more lighthearted topics, such as how he began his fundraising efforts for Farm Sanctuary in the 80’s. Gene chuckled while he told us about selling veggie hotdogs at Grateful Dead concerts to help fund the costs associated with running a sanctuary. Being a fundraiser myself, I thought that was so innovative and just downright cool, so I jumped on the opportunity to talk to him about it after his presentation. I divulged to Gene that my grandparents are Deadheads and that there was a good chance that they could have seen him selling his veggie dogs. I don’t know who was more shocked – me that I was having the chance to talk to Gene Baur about his activism or Gene finding out that my grandparents are Deadheads! Gene is a genuinely nice guy and it was such a pleasure getting the chance to meet him.

Since his talk in the fall, Gene has published his second book and recently he has been making the interview circuits. I was ecstatic to hear him on my two favorite podcasts: Our Hen House and Rich Roll. Both are phenomenal interviews and worth a listen.

Gene also appeared on one of my favorite TV shows, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart! I couldn’t believe it – he was talking about Farm Sanctuary and veganism on mainstream TV!

gene baur on the daily show

Click on the photo to watch Gene Baur on The Daily Show

I went ahead and bought the book after watching this interview with Jon Stewart and hearing Gene talk to my favorite podcast hosts. I don’t typically buy hardback books because it’s just so convenient to get it delivered to my Kindle, but this book seemed like the kind that I’d want in hand because of the recipes and the ability to loan it to friends and family. On the Farm Sanctuary website, the book is described as the following:

“In this definitive vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle guide, Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur
and Gene Stone, author of Forks Over Knives, explore the deeply transformative experience
of living day-to-day in harmony with your basic values.

The book covers the basic tenets of Farm Sanctuary life – such as connecting with nature wherever you are, reducing stress, and working to help the environment – and offers simple ways to incorporate these principles into your life.”

One of the themes that Gene talked about in all of his interviews is that animals are friends not food. Even Jon Stewart admitted that he finds it hard to eat animals after he knows their names. I understand where Jon Stewart is coming from because I also didn’t make the connection that farm animals have personalities just like our cats and dogs until I started reading more and watching more documentaries. It’s pretty awesome to see a major TV personality shift their way of thinking about animals, and in large part we have Gene Baur to thank for that.

People like Gene give me hope that as a society we’re reaching a tipping point where the majority of people will start eating conscientiously and we will be able to live in a world where animals will no longer be harmed. Thank you, Gene, for all of the countless hours of activism that you’ve put forth to make this world a more compassionate place.

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