gene baur

I’m sad to say I hadn’t heard about Gene Baur and his amazing organization Farm Sanctuary before yesterday but I’m so glad to be given the opportunity to hear him speak at the festival and I feel like every vegan should have heard it because he brought to light a great topic and vegans on tumblr in particular need to hear it. I am never the type to scream I’m a Vegan to everyone I see or endlessly try to convince people to go vegan and I wouldn’t usually speak on this topic but there are way too many fights on tumblr between vegans and meat eaters or just plain old endless bashing on meat eaters and it has become ridiculous. It’s never right to push your values onto others and Gene Baur spoke about whether or not we want to be the community of “Ugh, oh here comes the vegan!” which is completely ineffective or do we want to be understanding and make people really think about their actions. Forcefully pushing our values of “eating meat is bad” onto meat eaters by painting them as cruel people only makes them even more defensive and less open minded. He spoke about “how we can positively educate people so that they can make the right choices?” Change is more complex than we think and our ways in trying to educate people are too black and white.

He reiterated this concept of our relationship with animals and the relationship of a meat eater to an animal or factory farmers to animals and how to change that relationship into a more positive one. He was right in saying we have come a long way that big meat distributors have started marketing things such as free range, organic and grass fed because humans as a whole see factory farming as something bad and something cruel but the reality is that these free range and grass fed animals don’t really live in much better conditions than regular factory farmed animals. If we can positively make people see that this still isn’t the way to treat animals we can bring about even more change in the lives of animals. He said this “All humans are not perfect” and this is true we can’t walk around as the high and mighty; we have to take what we know and convey it in a way that is effective and can bring about change.

The most important thing he said is that we should be happy about the change we have already created through events like the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, through the fact that we have brought about new jobs and entrepreneurship, how one of the biggest dairy distributors Dean Foods bought Silk Soymilk which means that the dairy industry has realized the need for alternatives. We have made progress and we need to make more progress through positive means.

Some Facts He Provided

  • The UN did a recent study that found that the livestock industry is causing more negative impacts on the environment than cars and transportation.
  • The livestock industry is trying to push governmental laws banning the use of photography or filming of factory farms.
  • There is an Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act which labels animal activists groups as terrorists.
  • From the movie Forks over Knives, we can save 70% in healthcare costs by switching to a plant based diet because the food we eat is killing us.

Check out more info about Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary at: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

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