Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary- Summary

Gene Baur, President and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, delivered an inspiring and informative talk to Georgia College students, staff, and faculty on Monday, October 6th 2015.  Gene has been speaking on college campuses for 25 years, sharing his knowledge and convictions regarding animal agriculture.  Years ago, he and others learned  how to expose cruelty in slaughterhouses, and they inspired outrage among public citizens and went a step further: they started farms to rescue animals suffering from abuse.  Farm Sanctuary now has three farms in New York and California to rehabilitate hundreds of farm animals.  The organization promotes education and consumer choice, along with legal action, to change the animal agriculture system to be more sane and equitable.

Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary
Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary

Gene’s impressive slide show chronicled the development of laws to protect animals, including bans on veal cages, gestation cages, and battery cages.  His work has been frustrated by the industry, however, by agriculture gag laws and food disparagement laws.  Gene recommends that consumers make informed, mindful food choices, and to stay away from meat that is from animals raised in cruelty.  “Somebody, not something” is a useful reminder to shoppers while perusing the meat aisle.  He reminded us that in all his time challenging the industry, it is not that everyone who farms is cruel, but more that “bad becomes normal,” as small, local farms strive to keep up and are displaced by industrial-scale agriculture.

Gene recommended several useful sources for information, including films and books by authors who have adapted to vegetarian and vegan diets and products that replace animal meat:

Gene’s advice to students who want to explore meatless diets is to include beans, potatoes, nuts, tofu, and vitamin B12 in their daily meals.  Gene has been a vegetarian for over 20 years and assured the audience that his health is fine!

Published by Doug R. Oetter

Professor of Geography at Georgia College & State University.

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