Gene Baur: The Activist’s Activist

» April 6th, 2015

Gene Baur, a friend and fellow marathoner, is what you might call the activist’s activist. He’s articulate, charismatic, and a rare blend of incredibly friendly but serious at the same time.

The range of his activism runs the gamut. He travels relentlessly to give talks about his work at Farm Sanctuary and the benefits of living a compassionate “animal-friendly life” (in fact, when I first met Gene he was rambling through town in a VW Bus on a cross-country tour promoting veganism); he lives out his ideals by rescuing and raising farm animals at the nation’s leading farm sanctuary that he founded in the late 1980s; and, to top it off, he is a best-selling and elegant writer—author most recently of the Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, which is just out in paperback.

Gene’s book is a rare combination of attributes. It’s a strong plea for a plant-based diet, a guide to animal-friendly consumer and environmental ethics, an overview of farm-animal sentience, and a range of recipes that help us put our values on the plate in an especially delicious way. My favorite recipe section is “handheld meals”—and the Just Mayo chickpea salad sandwich (p. 164) has become a go to (in fact, it’ll be my lunch today).

What comes through powerfully in this book is the inspiring notion that—and I admit to doing battle with this idea—individual choice matters when it comes to creating a better world for animals. “I believe that everyone can make a significant change in their lives when they’re ready to make that change,” Baur writes. Don’t let the simplicity of the statement fool you. After reading this book, even the most worn skeptic will be softened to the possibility.

If all this sounds too good to be true, you can check Gene out for yourself. This evening he’ll be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Tune in.

And tune in.


3 Responses to Gene Baur: The Activist’s Activist

  1. Layne says:

    Thanks for this. I look forward to reading Baur’s book.

    I worked as an intern for a while at Farm Sanctuary in California, and felt the whole time that if there is a heaven on Earth, this was it.

  2. Mark Phipps says:

    I am ready for this! Perhaps it can soften my wife’s heart. Thank you.

  3. John T. Maher says:

    Gene’s work is great because rather than just create a ring-fence fantasy world where animals are “safe” he defends his critters and continues the struggle outside his boundaries. Many animal people merely care about the politics of sight and the critters they personally know but Gene cares for them all. He is the right sort of model upon which to plan an advocacy campaign.

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