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When Gene Baur, founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, began visiting stockyards to document conditions, he was appalled by what he found. Amid the stench and filth, animals were deprived of their most basic needs. Those who were injured or sick were destined to be unceremoniously thrown onto the “dead pile,” rather than receive proper care. But when a sheep who had been cast aside and left for dead raised her head and looked at Baur, he was inspired to take immediate action. He rescued the sheep that fateful day, and “Hilda,” as she was soon known, became the first resident of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization.
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FARM SANCTUARY is a thought-provoking examination of the ethical questions involved in the production of beef, poultry, pork, milk, and eggs. It addresses the systematic mistreatment of the ten billion farm animals who are exploited specifically for food in the United States every year—as well as the plight of farmers who fall victim to the “get bigger or get out” mantra embraced by corporate agribusinesses.
Throughout, Baur shares the triumphs and ongoing struggles of more than twenty years on the front lines of the animal protection movement, from Chicago’s foie gras ban to Florida legislation outlawing cruelly confining gestation crates for breeding pigs. He also introduces some of the special creatures who have found shelter at Farm Sanctuary—from Maya, a “downed” stockyard calf found too injured to walk (and thus left for dead) to Rudy, Truffles, and Terrin, all pigs who were rescued after falling out of trucks on busy interstate highways.
FARM SANCTUARY urges readers to extend the reach of human compassion and consume a kinder plate, making a better life for animals and for themselves.
About the Author
FARM SANCTUARY: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food. Baur, Gene (Author)
Review by Colleen Mondor
Mar 2008. 288 p. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, hardcover, $25.00. (0743291581). 664.07. Activist Baur, who co-founded Farm Sanctuary in 1986 to rescue abused farm animals, has written a stunning indictment of factory farming and the way most Americans obtain their food. By chronicling his journeys to stockyards and feedlots, he shows just how devastating the industry is for the animals and the people who depend on agribusiness. Baur exposes the sharp realities that make cheap food possible and explains why corporate farms obtain more cash from Congress than small, independent farmers. The conflict between organic versus humane practices is explored in a discussion of the case against Horizon dairies; cruel practices are revealed, such as how chickens are tortured as egg layers, then destroyed in huge garbage disposals, and the consequences of the industry’s dependence on growthenhancement drugs is analyzed. Baur’s report is not for the faint of heart, but it is critical reading for anyone willing to ask about the origin of their food, and readers are rewarded with tales of animals who have been saved, and the surprising things that have been learned about farm animals from close observation of their habits. A life-altering read.
Praise for Farm Sanctuary, by Gene Baur
“Factory farms subvert democracy and are some of the nation’s worst polluters. This book shows how they also treat animals with unspeakable cruelty. Farm Sanctuary is a compelling testament to the need to civilize this industry and end its radical practices for producing meat, dairy and eggs.”
“In Farm Sanctuary Gene Baur highlights the appalling conditions billions of animals are forced to endure in factory farms – in order to produce more meat more cheaply in the shortest possible time. His descriptions of the courageous battles fought by many individuals to end such practices are touching. Filled with hope, this book is written for all who strive for a more compassionate world—I highly recommend it.”
“During the 1980s, Gene rescued neglected, abused, and injured animals from the appalling, disgusting conditions at auctions and stockyards. Meet the fascinating animals he saved in this insightful book.”
“Farm Sanctuary is a wonderful and inspiring book—about animals in need of compassion and laws in need of reform. Some of the stories Gene Baur tells will break your heart, and other stories will speak to your deepest convictions. It's a book about appalling cruelty and heroic kindness, and it points the way to a better world.”
“I have always admired the tremendous work of Farm Sanctuary. Farm animals need our ethical consideration, and Farm Sanctuary has played a central role in getting the issue of their plight on the national agenda.”
“The factory farming industries do their best to keep people from knowing the truth about how meat, eggs and dairy are produced. Gene and Farm Sanctuary deserve high praise for working so hard to educate the public and make the world a more compassionate and humane place.”
"Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary have helped to bring the U.S. animal welfare movement into the twenty-first century, winning victories for farm animals that have the support of most Americans—once they learn the truth about industrial animal farming today."
“Our culture has supported the alarming growth of environmentally toxic, unbelievably cruel, and ultimately unsustainable factory farms for our animal foods. Gene’s engaging book traces how we got there, and the hopeful options we have ahead of us for making healthier and more compassionate choices.”
“Since Farm Sanctuary first opened its barn doors more than twenty years ago, thousands of animals have been rescued, millions of people have been educated, and countless perspectives have been shifted. Farm animals couldn't ask for a better advocate than Gene Baur.”
“With grace and with guts, Gene Baur tells us how he and a few other animal advocates finally stood up for the rights of farmed animals, how they shook awake a sleeping public, and how animal agribusiness fought them all every step of the way. A great read—the best book on the U.S. Movement for the rights of animals used for food.”
“If you want to pretend that agribusiness treats farm animal just like members of their own families, then this book isn’t for you. But if you want to live a compassionate life, and want your choices to be congruent with your love, then read Gene Baur’s excellent Farm Sanctuary. You’ll be a wiser, stronger, and healthier person for it.”
“For both humans and other animals, Farm Sanctuary is as close to the Garden of Eden as we have seen in our lifetimes. Now, with the publication of the book, Farm Sanctuary, we can read the story of what went into the Garden's creation.”
“This book is the most authentic account of the real lives of farm animals, by the St. Francis of our time. There is nobody else in America who could tell the truth about farm animals from such a deep perspective, and at the same time make your heart soar.”
“For years, Farm Sanctuary has been a refuge for cruelly treated animals, rescued from the nightmare world of the factory farm. Now Farm Sanctuary is also a beautiful and stirring book, as filled with the spirit of mercy as the place that inspired it.”
“Not unlike the great liberationist movements of the past—whether those championed by Susan B. Anthony or Mahatma Gandhi—Gene's profoundly successful efforts should rightly be credited with having created the blueprint for what some would call a utopian call to faith, but is, in fact, the true nature of humanity: pragmatic idealism; to be gentle, compassionate and truly human. This book is his lyrical testimony to the fact it can, and will be done.”
“Twenty years ago, the suffering of farmed animals was invisible to most of us -- neatly concealed, quietly ignored, smoothly swallowed. Then Farm Sanctuary was created, and the curtain of silence was lifted, forever. Gene Baur went with his video camera to places that we would prefer not to see -- into the feed lots and the factory farms where he rescued animals and obtained the documentation and information, that when seen, was so shocking and completely unacceptable to a culture that believes itself to be 'humane'. Miraculously, that information saw the light of day in the mass media, and a movement was born.”
Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Animals!
Go Veg! More vegan-friendly foods are showing up on supermarket shelves and in restaurant menus than ever before. Choosing a vegan lifestyle is the best thing you can do to positively impact animals, your health, and the environment. Find tips on vegan living at www.vegforlife.org.
Take a Vacation – to Farm Sanctuary. Have you ever given a pig a belly-rub…talked to a turkey…or kissed a cow? Countless guests have described their time at our sanctuaries as life transforming experiences. Plan your trip at www.farmsanctuary.org/farm.
Urge your elected officials to support animal friendly legislation. Becoming a citizen lobbyist can be as easy as making a phone call. Learn more about state and federal legislative efforts targeting unconscionable animal cruelty and promoting plant based agriculture by visiting www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/legislation.
Educate others. Contact Farm Sanctuary for literature, videos, books and other materials and use these to inform others about the cruelty of factory farming and the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Email email@example.com for information.
Get Active. Get involved with Farm Sanctuary and others who share your interest in promoting compassion and a healthy future for our planet. Check out our annual Walk for Farm Animals at www.walkforfarmanimals.org.
Adopt a farm animal. Help give a rescued farm animal lifelong care by ‘adopting’ one who lives at Farm Sanctuary. We’ll send you a picture and updates, which you can share with friends and family. Meet your match at www.farmsanctuary.org/get_involved/aafa.
Encourage restaurants and chefs to act responsibly. If you see foie gras or veal on restaurant menus, ask them to stop selling these products of egregious cruelty. For information, please see www.noveal.org or www.nofoiegras.org. And, encourage them to provide more vegan offerings.
Write a letter to the editor. The letters to the editor section of the newspaper provides a great opportunity to reach others and raise awareness on current events relevant to the problems of factory farming and the benefits of vegan living. You can find tips for drafting a letter at http://www.farmsanctuary.org/get_involved/act/activist_letters.html.
Support plant based community agriculture. Purchase local fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and join Community Supported Agriculture programs. Find out more at http://www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets or http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml.
Join Farm Sanctuary. Support our vital rescue, education, and advocacy efforts by making a financial contribution. To become a member, learn about our many donation options, and to sign up for our e-alerts and newsletters, visit www.farmsanctuary.org.