Gene Baur, Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary and Bestselling Author
The Innovative Mindset
Gene Baur on the Animal Rights Movement, Big Agriculture, and Critical ThinkingThis episode is brought to you by Brain.fm. I love and use brain.fm every day! It combines music and neuroscience to help me focus, meditate, and even sleep! Because you listen to this show, you can get a free trial.*URL: https://brain.fm/innovativemindsetIf you love it as much as I do, you can get 20% off with this exclusive coupon code: innovativemindset Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production. A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations and farm animal rescue, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting the deplorable conditions, and his rescue work inspired an international farm sanctuary movement. He played a key role in the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and enacting the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming systems. Gene has published two bestsellers, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Simon and Schuster, 2008) and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale, 2015), which he co-authored with Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone. Through his ongoing writing, activism, and speaking engagements, Gene continues working to expose the abuses of factory farming and to advocate for a just and sustainable plant-based food system.Connect with Genehttps://www.farmsanctuary.org/ https://www.instagram.com/genebaur/ https://www.instagram.com/farmsanctuary/Other linkshttps://www.localharvest.org/csa/ Episode Transcript[00:00:00] Gene Baur: A lot of the information we receive is more marketing than accurate descriptions of reality. And so I think just the first thing is to be discerning and to recognize that just because we read something doesn't necessarily mean we should believe it. [00:00:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Hello and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. I interview peak performing innovators in the creative social impact and earth conservation spaces or working to change the world. This episode is brought to you by brain FM, brain FM combines the best of music and neuroscience to help you relax, focus, meditate, and even sleep. [00:00:40] I love it and have been using it to write, create and do some. Deepest work because you're a listener of the show. You can get a free trial head over to brain.fm/innovative mindset to check it out. If you decide to subscribe, you can get 20% off with the coupon code, innovative mindset, all one word. And now let's get to the show.[00:01:00] [00:01:00] Yes. [00:01:04] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I'm your host and I'm thrilled. You're here and I'm so honored to have this week's guest. I've got to tell you about this gentlemen. I'm so I'm a little nervous. I'll be. Yeah. But here we go. So gene Bauer has been hailed as the conscience of the food movement by time magazine, since the mid 1980s, he's traveled extensively campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production. [00:01:33] And you know, how close to my heart that is a pioneer in the field of undercover investigations and farmers. Eugene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses documenting the deplorable conditions and his rescue work inspired an international farm sanctuary movement. He played a key role in the first ever cruelty conviction at a us stock yard and enacting the first us laws to prohibit cruel farming systems. [00:01:57] Yes, Gina's published two [00:02:00] bestseller. Farm sanctuary, changing hearts and minds about animals and food. It's by Simon and Schuster and living the farm sanctuary life in 2015, which he co-authored with forks over knives, author, Jean Stone, through his ongoing writing activism and speaking engagements. Jean continues working to expose the abuses of factory farming and to advocate for adjust and sustainable plant-based food system. [00:02:23] Again. Yes, Jean I'm so grateful and honored that you're here. Thank you so much for being. [00:02:28] Gene Baur: Oh, thank you. It's old. It's great to be with you. And I, and I love talking about these issues, so I'm very, very much looking forward to this. [00:02:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: I, I have so many questions, but I really want to start at the beginning. [00:02:40] What, what did it for you? You know, there's, there's a moment at which you decide the kind of person you're going to be and who you're going to stand up for. What was it for you that made you think to yourself? You know what? I'm going to do this. This is going to become my life. [00:02:55] Gene Baur: You know, it, it, there was really never any one moment. [00:02:58] It was a [00:03:00] series of moments. And I think the initial thinking was, I just don't want to cause unnecessary harm in the world. And it started actually even before farm sanctuary, you know, I was born in 1962, so I grew up with Vietnam on television. I grew up during the cold war about all these worries and stories about, you know, The violence, the violence in the world just bothered me and I didn't want to be part of it. [00:03:23] So as I learned about the food system, I came to recognize the enormous violence there and you know, in high school for a short time, I stopped eating animals. When, when I had come home once and my mother had made a chicken dinner and I saw the light, the bird, you know, full legs and wings attached on his or her back on the plate. [00:03:45] And that turned me off from eating meat for a while. But that, that vision kind of faded over time. Then I got back to the old habit of eating animals. And then in 1985, I traveled around the country. I started spending time with activists, learning more about [00:04:00] factory farming and recognizing it was possible to live with. [00:04:03] Killing and eating other animals and that, and I went vegan. And then in 1986, you know, I felt that people just are unaware of what is happening in the food system. And people are unwittingly supporting violence and abuse every day. And you know, our original thinking was that if we could. Document and expose what was happening and show people they would decide not to eat out. [00:04:26] So that was kind of the simple thing. And this is in 1980. And so we started going to farms and stock yards in slaughterhouses to document conditions. And we would find living animals thrown in trash cans or on piles of dead animals. So we started rescuing them and that's how the sanctuaries began. But at the time we didn't really have. [00:04:45] Like a five-year vision or a 10 year vision. It was just a series of events. You know, like finding Hilda, for example, a sheep could have been left on a pile of dead animals that then led us to recognize how Hilda and other [00:05:00] farm animals could become ambassadors, because people wanted to hear her story. [00:05:03] We wanted to hear about where she came from. And then we could tell that story and educate people about the abuses of animal agriculture. And so it's been a whole process. You know, and, and that process continues. When we started, there were no other farm sanctuaries. So we were the first and there are now hundreds around the world, which is great, but we also, I think, need to critically evaluate how can these sanctuaries have the biggest impact possible. [00:05:29] And ultimately, you know, we said this in the early days, and I'll say it again today is ideally we would love to put ourselves out of business. You know, it would be. If there was no need for sanctuaries, right. But, but there is at this time because billions of farm animals are exploited and treated horribly and we need to speak out against that. [00:05:50] We need to model different kinds of relationships with that. Yeah. As friends, not food, which, which I think is one of the key messages of farm sanctuary is [00:06:00] that these animals deserve respect. They deserve to be treated with kindness and doing so as good for the animals. And it's also good for us. So, so, you know, it's an ongoing evolution. [00:06:11] And in addition to trying to inspire individual choices we are recently. Re-engaging in efforts to change the food system, which I think can have significant. [00:06:26] Izolda Trakhtenberg: I'm taking a second to take it all in. Wow. Okay. So I, first of all, yes. And thank you. That's actually that recognition of what I was eating of, what I was putting in my mouth is what made me go vegan many years ago and something that I'm hearing you say, and I love that you're hearing that you're saying it this way is. [00:06:48] You're not talking about eating meat, you're talking about eating animals, even that I don't know if it's a conscious choice on your part, but even that is an awareness raiser. So I'm wondering [00:07:00] when you do that, when you speak to people, when you're doing not, let's talk about the direct action later, because I'll get so angry, I'll have to run out of the room and scream for a minute. [00:07:09] But when you're speaking to people and you are trying to open hearts and. How conscious are you of your mindset of what you are trying to educate them on? [00:07:25] Gene Baur: You know, it, it really depends on the particular venue and, you know, here, we're just sort of talking like friends, you know? And so when I say animals, Honestly, I wasn't even conscious of that. [00:07:36] I was just expressing, you know, the humans are eating other animals and it's something that we need to critically evaluate. Right. But you know, when I've done media, I will sometimes also talk about eating animals. And I think that puts it in very stark terms because people don't think about the animals. [00:07:54] And so I think it's a habit I've somewhat gotten into. Being particularly [00:08:00] conscious of it, at least at this point over the years, it has been something that, you know, I've thought a lot about and how do we best reach people? How do we best connect with people? How do we build bridges of understanding instead of putting up walls that cause people to say, don't tell me I don't want it. [00:08:17] Right. And I think this is one of the things actually that sanctuaries do. And it would tie into the idea of talking about eating animals or not eating animals is that at the sanctuary is, are clearly animals, individuals, cows, pigs, chickens. They're not that different than cats or dogs or even humans. [00:08:37] And so the sanctuary world. Yeah. Affords us the opportunity to talk about animals as individuals in a fairly robust and impactful way, and that then can be applied to the food system and the lives that animals and humans experience at sanctuaries are very different [00:09:00] than those that are experienced in the food system. [00:09:03] And at the sanctuary. The animals are our friends. We interact with them in positive ways. There has been research done to show that when we interact with our dogs or other animals in positive ways, like petting our dog, for example, it helps to lower our stress levels, lower our breath, blood pressure. [00:09:21] It's good for us. And it's good for the animals. And I would say the same thing about sanctuaries is that these are a, win-win when good for us. Good for other animals. Whereas you compare that to the factory farming system. And I sometimes ask people to consider what it would be like to work in a slaughterhouse. [00:09:40] You know, this is something that is obviously horrible for other animals, but I would also. Suggested it is bad for people and it causes us to lose our humanity and our empathy. So, so the factory farming system is bad for everybody involved, I believe. And I think in the vegan animal rights [00:10:00] movement, there has been a recent sort of evolution towards looking at the system more holistically. [00:10:06] Looking at, in some cases, people who are participating in these violent acts as cogs in a wheel and have in many cases, sort of disempowered individuals without agency who are in some ways, even acting outside of their own interests outside of their own values and, and humanity and, you know, figuring out systemic. [00:10:28] Yeah. How do we replace our current violent extractive system with one that is based more on mutuality. One that is good for us. Good for other animals. Good for the earth. Because if you step back and think about it, you know, the way we grow food and consume in this country today, we're eating food that is making us sick. [00:10:50] It's been estimated. We could save 70% on health care. By shifting to a whole foods, plant-based diet 70%. We could prevent [00:11:00] millions of premature deaths every year. We could also save enormous amounts of land and biodiversity and ecosystems by shifting away from animal agriculture to plant based in the S. [00:11:13] 10 times more land is used for animal agriculture versus plant-based. And then of course, animals who are not being exploited and killed also do better when we're not eating them. So this is a win-win across the board. And I think right now we're at a position, especially with concerns about the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity on the planet that we have very compelling reasons to argue for a plant-based foods. [00:11:40] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Oh, absolutely. And for sure, it's interesting to me what you said about the people. It's almost like in order to be able to do that horrible job, they have to make themselves inner to the violence they're doing every single second. That must absolutely. Change [00:12:00] them on some fundamental levels. And yet the notion of going macro with it, like you were talking about just a second ago of changing the food system itself. [00:12:10] Yes. It's good for the environment. Yes, it's, it's obviously better for, for the animals. If we're not. Exploiting them and killing them and eating them. But the question becomes for me, how, how do we, is it, is it lobbying efforts in, in government? What, what do we need to do? What do you, what are you thinking of doing and what do you think the average person can do? [00:12:33] To make inroads to making those changes. [00:12:37] Gene Baur: Yeah. Yeah, no, it is a big question and it is a multi valence to response. I think that we need to make individual changes in terms of how we eat so that we are not subsidizing this system by buying factory farm to animal products. Because when we buy those products, we're in a sense voting with our [00:13:00] dollars to support those systems. [00:13:02] But we also have a government that is supporting the factory farming industry to the tune of billions of dollars every year. So one of the first things I think we need to focus on. Is taking the government support away from growing feed crops. For example, you know, corn and soy that are grown in the U S are used largely to feed farm animals. [00:13:26] And those crops are heavily subsidized in a variety of ways. So I think we need to stop supporting and enabling this harmful and inherently inefficient. So that's one of the first things is to stop subsidizing irresponsible practices. Also, our government has done a lot to promote the consumption of animal products, including through the school lunch program, where for decades, a school kids have been given a glass of cow's milk as part of supposed nutrition. [00:13:58] But really, yeah. A [00:14:00] large part marketing and promotions. So I think our government needs to stop promoting animal foods the way it has been doing. And so there's going to be, I think, systemic. Policy matters. There's going to be personal matters. And I think there's going to be a business element to this where, you know, today we are seeing enormous investments in plant-based meats and in companies that are developing alternatives to, to meat from. [00:14:27] Living feeling animals. And I think those are very positive steps. So business is gonna play a role. Individual choice is going to play a role. And the government also, I think, is going to play a very important role. And part of it is stopping, you know, enabling our current system and instead enabling an alternative and the alternative could look a variety. [00:14:50] And I sort of see kind of bi-modal food production in the future. We sorta see it today to where you. Large scale mass [00:15:00] production and that's the dominant system. So I think in order to shift that it's really good that you have companies like beyond meat, impossible, and others who are looking to slot in a plant-based burger instead of a meat burger. [00:15:16] But in addition to that, I think there's going to be a more grassroots. It's a ground up push to even grow one's own food. Yeah. A robust urban farming movement. Now there's a food, not lawns movement now. And we can grow a lot more food than we sometimes believe by local urban agriculture. So I think there's a lot of growth in that space as well. [00:15:39] So there are good signs and these sorts of shifts should also be supported by government policies. [00:15:49] Izolda Trakhtenberg: You're singing my song. I love it. So there, there are so many things here that as a, as a former NASA staffer, I, I think about in terms of [00:16:00] how much of our land is being used for agriculture and is that land being used for the best form of agriculture. So what you said about plants like corn and soy that are mostly being grown to feed them. [00:16:15] Animal agriculture practices, I guess, is the best way to put it. How, how would they transfer if, if the government went okay, let's do this. Let's transfer over from corn and soy to more, plant-based that, that, that is designed to feed people, not animals. I'll put it that way because that's the best language I have in the moment. [00:16:37] How would we make that shift? How would we get farmer buy-in to be able to do that? [00:16:43] Gene Baur: Yeah, well, a lot of this crop land is now owned by banks and financial institutions. So the reason that they have invested here is because it's profitable. So if we had government programs, for example, that did not incentivize. [00:16:59] Crop [00:17:00] land for feed, but instead incentivized crop land for food that would do a lot to shift acres that are growing corn and soy to feed animals into peas or corn or soy or other crops people. But, but one of the other sort of fundamentals. Issues we have with animal agriculture is that it requires enormous amounts of land, enormous amounts of resources which for a small number of people can be very profitable because if you're selling corn and soy and you have crop insurance and you're basically guaranteed a profit you keep doing it. [00:17:40] And that's kind of, what's gotten us to where we are today and it's been driven by this belief and this bias. That animal foods are somehow preferable to plant based foods. So that's a bias that has driven agriculture, and it's been supported by the increasing profits that, you know, crop producers and [00:18:00] feed producers and the machinery of agriculture has benefited from. [00:18:04] And this also includes the pesticide companies, the petrochemical industries and, and, and so it's a massive industry. It's a massive company. But removing the, the federal and other subsidies that make crop production for animal feed profitable. And instead just doing that actually would have a big impact. [00:18:27] And, and, and another part of this has to do with exports because, you know, Grow all these crops and what cannot be sold in the U S is an export. And so you also have international dimensions to this. So it's, it's a big, big machine and it has to be addressed over time in various ways, but. [00:18:46] Stopping the funding and then enabling of our current system is, is huge. And and if that happened, I think you would see a natural shift towards growing crops to feed people instead of [00:19:00] growing feed for farm animals. But it's going to require a shift because, you know, instead of, you know, A million acres, you could now use maybe a hundred thousand acres to feed as many people, which means you have all that extra land that could potentially be rewilding or used for other more healthy purposes. [00:19:20] But what it means is that whoever's now pro. From all that extra land would, would, would have to have a different business model. And so there's a lot tied up in this, but the feed side is enormous and that's an important place, I think, for us to try to work on policies, to discourage this, this ongoing irresponsible and frankly, inefficient practice. [00:19:44] It's only profitable because of government programs. [00:19:47] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah. And that's the thing that I'm wondering about with, with government subsidies. For agriculture in that way, I keep coming back to lobbying Congress. I keep coming back to changing the minds of [00:20:00] people who represent South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, some of the. [00:20:07] Big farming states that are designed to th their, their practices are designed to keep this machine going. And so I keep coming back to which way do you address the problem? Do you address, do you address it as, as lobbying Congress? Do you address it grassroots with the, with the farmers or the banks? How, how do we innovate away from the current practice? [00:20:30] If there's so much it's like a locomotive there's so much force going in that particular direct. [00:20:37] Gene Baur: Yes. Yes. I think you do all of that. And I think from the standpoint of a lobbying, you know, at this point, you know, the vegan perspective, the Amorites perspective is very much a minority point of view. [00:20:50] And we're up against very entrenched, very embedded, very powerful agricultural interests who not [00:21:00] only have. Lots of money and lobbyists, but members of the agriculture committee and key members of Congress representing agricultural states have disproportionate power to maintain the status quo because it is profitable. [00:21:16] After spending time in Congress, then they go work at an agribusiness company and they come back and forth. You know, the USDA secretary today, Tom bill sack. And he was the secretary under Obama and he was better than Sonny Perdue who was under Trump. But when Villsac left the USDA in 2016, He went to work with the us dairy export council and was working to promote dairy exports around the world. [00:21:44] And then when Biden was elected, he came back and he's now the USDA secretary again. So that gives you an idea of the kind of entrenched industry interests throughout government. And there are cultural biases. Towards this idea that drinking cow's milk is [00:22:00] somehow beneficial and healthy. So that's a belief system, but I think we need to challenge you at the government level, but also culturally throughout the country and the world. [00:22:10] And, and then we need to be working on the machinery of the system. So it's a cultural thing and it's a structural thing. And I think it is important to lobby but we need to be realistic about what we're up to. And one of the issues that really concerns me right now. And it's one that I'm not terribly optimistic, we'll be able to, to, to remedy from a policy standpoint, although we're going to keep fighting away and raising awareness and trying to battle these kinds of subsidies, but you know, the concern about the climate crisis what agribusiness is very good at doing is greenwashing and parlay. [00:22:49] Concerned about the environment to benefit their own interests. And they're doing that right now with methane digesters and with, you know, this idea that if you take [00:23:00] these manure, lagoons and factory farms, which again, these places can find. Thousands of animals. They produce enormous amounts of waste, too much waste for the land to absorb. [00:23:09] So putting these cesspools and in a sense of greenhouse gases. So the solution industry has, and this is now tied to the oil industry as well is to take that waste and turn it into methane, which is entered this methane and you digest it and you turn it into energy and on the surface, that sounds good. [00:23:29] But when you step back, What these methane digesters ultimately do is they further entrench industrial animal agriculture by tying it now to the industry grid or to the energy grid. And if you look at the amount of greenhouse gases coming from animal agriculture, most of it like about half of it comes from the feed industry, not from the manure, which is about 10% of it. [00:23:55] So if you really wanted to deal with the greenhouse. Gases and the climate [00:24:00] crisis, you would not be constructing maneuver lagoon or rock methane digesters at these factory farms. But that is what the government is currently supporting. And, and it's it's, so it's a financial misstep and it's also a greenwash cause now these industries can talk about how they're ecologically aware when in fact what they're doing is very harmful still. [00:24:21] So. Again, that's an example of how our entrenched system is working, where certain interests are able to actually parlay a genuine concern. To a policy that actually enables irresponsible practices to continue. And so that's what we're up against. So we just need to be calling this stuff out and encouraging consumers to make changes supporting businesses that are making changes. [00:24:50] I think we do need to lobby but we also need to do a lot more, right. [00:24:58] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Taking all of that in. Wow. [00:25:00] Yeah. It's interesting. You know what you said about the land being able to take in these manure lagoons? I worked when I was at NASA, I worked in, in soil science and looking at the soil itself. The soil can do a lot as far as carbon sequestration and looking at this notion of filtration, but it certainly can't do as much. [00:25:24] Manure, you know, as much manure as is produced. So if we don't try to do it that way, if we, or if that's one arm. The grassroots way of doing things. If I'm a, if I'm a person living in the USA and I want to build awareness is there. And I have no idea if there is, and maybe we should create one. Is there any kind of a database or a website where I can go to start learning about some of this to start seeing companies that are practicing this greenwashing as you put [00:26:00] it, is there anywhere where we can get better educated on this? [00:26:04] Gene Baur: Yeah, that's a really good question because a lot of the information we receive is more marketing than accurate descriptions of reality. And so I think just the first thing is to be discerning and to recognize that just because we read something doesn't necessarily mean we should believe it. I think a lot of the important progress is going to happen at the local level. [00:26:28] And the reason I say that is because when you're. In a local area, you see what is happening and it's harder to be misled. You know, the further removed you are from the source of your food. The easier it is for those that are marketing that food to tell you stories that may not be accurate. So I think, you know, I've been very encouraged by what I've seen in recent years. [00:26:50] And I, you know, before the Corona virus pandemic, I did a fair bit of traveling and I would visit urban. And see what is happening in [00:27:00] communities. And I have been very inspired and impressed by, by the work of groups like Harlem grown in New York or green Bronx machine in New York, you know, both that are enabling the youth to learn how to grow their own food. [00:27:14] Ron Finley in Los Angeles is doing the same thing. You have a grow where you are an urban farm in Atlanta, eco suburbia, a veganic urban farm in Mesa, Arizona. So you have all these like local farming operations that are producing healthy food in sustainable plant-based ways. And also building soil w and, and, and creating a relationship of mutuality with them. [00:27:39] Instead of one of extraction, you know, because when we look at the factory farming system, you know, you have a lot of corn, for instance, that's grown in the Midwest. So there's all these petrochemical fertilizers that are added to get that crop to grow. And then that corn is transported. Sometimes it's used in Iowa, but sometimes, you know, in North Carolina, for [00:28:00] example, to feed pigs. [00:28:01] So you have all these nutrients, all this corn, all this material. It's now being dumped in North Carolina, fed through pigs and you have all this maneuver. So there's this massive imbalance. Whereas if you have, you know, local food produced in a responsible way for a local market you know, it's just more connected. [00:28:20] The food is fresher. The food is healthier and people know what they're getting. So I would encourage people to join a local CSA co what's a community supported agriculture program. And the nice thing about these structures is that consumers. Invest in the program with the farmer. So at the beginning of the growing season, the farmer has the capital. [00:28:41] They need to get seeds and whatever else to begin to plant and to grow. And over the course of the growing season, the farmer and the consumer share in whether it's been a bumper crop or not a very successful crop. And the consumer understands buying in [00:29:00] that, you know, You know, a certain amount of food, it might be more, it might be a little less depending on how the season goes. [00:29:05] So that's a way to spread out risk for farmers and to share that with consumers and also for consumers to get closer to the production system and understand farming more. So growing food locally is huge. There's also, I think, an opportunity to transition lawns. So for people who live in the suburbs or who have homes with gardens or with, with lawns, You know, how about a whole different industry, right? [00:29:31] Growing produce instead of just instead of a gardener coming and mowing the lawn and, you know, putting down fertilizer in some cases what if the gardener actually became a gardener and now this could be the homeowner, or it could be a service where instead of just mowing the lawn. They're growing produce. [00:29:49] So every week there's a box of, you know, fruits or vegetables or whatever that could then potentially be sold locally or bartered or traded with other neighbors. [00:30:00] So, so that's another, I think food, not lawns movement that could be very positive locally. And then I think at the local level, you can work on maybe city zoning policies to make it easier to grow, produce in your neighborhoods and, and maybe policies around why. [00:30:18] Maybe tax incentives or tax breaks for people who are growing food instead of having a lot. So those are some concrete policy, examples of ways to enable more of this type of activity in various communities. So, so those are just some thoughts, but I think local is going to be huge. I think we do need to work on federal policies. [00:30:40] But doing that. I think it's going to take some time for us to develop the kind of support base to be able to take on animal agriculture and, and another, you know, speaking to innovation. One of the things that I think is happening, you know, in recent years. And it's very positive is that the vegan movement, the animal rights movement [00:31:00] is coming to recognize more common ground with worker movements, with small farmers, with environmentalist's, with health advocates, and you put all these together and you find common ground. [00:31:13] And, you know, as a vegan, I'd love it to be all vegan and it might not be all vegan. Less meat. You know, so, so finding common ground with diverse interests and then promoting certain policies at the federal level, we might have some success. [00:31:34] Izolda Trakhtenberg: I really hope so. [00:31:37] Gene Baur: No. And then methane digesters is a good example of that, right? Where you have small farmers, you know, you know, whether they're vegan or whether they're raising a small number of animals, they would also begins to manure lagoons. So that's one of those examples where we might not agree on everything, but we can agree that these methane digesters should not be allowed. [00:31:57] We could potentially agree on certain crop [00:32:00] insurance. Federal subsidies, we could potentially agree on consolidation, you know, cause one of the things that's happened also is. Fewer and fewer larger farms producing food. So I think we need a more diversified food system. So those are the kinds of policy areas where I think we might have some opportunities at the federal level working with a broader coalition of aligned interest. [00:32:26] Izolda Trakhtenberg: That would be such an incredible feat and obviously an important one. That notion though of changing changing mindsets of, of people aligning themselves with, with other, with organizations, aligning themselves with other organizations who are working. At on parallel tracks, maybe if not the same track, there is no centralized body that says, Hey, let's do this together. [00:32:53] There is no movement, one movement that, that does that. And so it makes me, it makes me wonder [00:33:00] how do we broaden the minds of people who again, want to be involved who want to align themselves with these various movements, but don't know how to reconcile. The differences, like you said, for example, now it might not all be vegan. [00:33:15] And I know, I know lots of vegans are like, if you're not vegan, you're not worthwhile. And that, that is concerning to me because it you're cutting off your nose to spite your face at some point. So how, how would you encourage people to, to come together in those kinds of situations where they have what they might consider to be insurmountable? [00:33:39] Gene Baur: Yeah, no, I think it's important to try to find common ground and the build and then build from there. So in the case of a small, a farmer who is raising animals for slaughter, for example, now we would disagree. On the idea of killing animals for food. So that's obvious. And so we need to [00:34:00] accept that, but instead of focusing on that and, and creating more division around that particular problem, we can focus on the idea of local food. [00:34:11] We can focus in on the idea of. You know, no more subsidies for big ag. We can folk, we should find common ground and focus on that and build from there. And then my belief is that when you engage with people who may actually have a different perspective there's an opportunity for learning and and this can go both ways. [00:34:32] There are certain, yeah. Experiences different people have, and we can learn a lot from each other when we pay attention and we don't have to agree on everything, but if you can find common ground and build from there, I think that's the most important thing. Instead of looking at the disagreement. [00:34:47] Yeah. And continuing to pound on that. And in the vegan world, sometimes we tend to do that. And I don't think that it's necessarily helped. I understand the idea of holding onto a certain [00:35:00] ideal and I hold onto the ideal, but, you know, I can't control it. I can only control myself and I can try to encourage others and nudge others, but people, you know, have to make their own choices at the end of the day. [00:35:13] And if we can work with folks with aligned interests and, and we have an awful lot of opportunity. When we look at the factory farming industry and the harm, it causes to small farmers, to consumers, to rural communities, to urban communities to our health to animals, to the earth. When we look at all the harm, this industry causes indigenous populations, you know, around the world. [00:35:37] So there's so many ways that we can find common ground. When we look at the food system and specifically the factory farming. And so I think focusing there and then preventing. Again, government policies and subsidies that enable that abusive industry. So that to me is a very good starting point. And, and then once we [00:36:00] hopefully are able to stop subsidizing, irresponsible, unjust, inhumane animal, agricultural practices, we can then start looking at ways to reinvest that government money. [00:36:13] And, you know, some organizations like ours would only want to support, find funding plant-based alternatives. So that's where we would go a little further than some of these other allies, you know, who might be against the factory farming industry, but would still be for, you know, eating animal products, maybe fewer animal products. [00:36:33] So I think that's where the common ground is with those groups and individuals that we might not agree completely on. Less animal products is I think a very good comment. [00:36:44] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah, this friend is, she works with farmers and she, and I have to keep focusing on that common ground instead of on, on where we diverge. Ironically, she's the one who told me what happens to dairy cows in wa and that's when I went vegan. So [00:37:00] so this notion of being able to. In some ways agree to disagree is your point is well taken. [00:37:07] I wonder if, if I could talk to you about this, this other notion, you said something about the protein and the nutrients. From from directly from plants versus from animals. There's, I've always in my head had this notion that there's, that there is a nutrients once removed situation happening. When you, when you try to get nutrients from, from eating an animal, I don't know what your, what your education level is on this, but could you talk a little bit about that notion that, that, that. [00:37:39] Primary nutrients from plants versus what nutrients we might be getting from animals, especially animals. Who've, who've been factory farmed. [00:37:49] Gene Baur: Yeah. You know, I don't have a whole lot of kind of academic knowledge in that space. You know, what I do know is I've been a vegan since 1985. I'm almost 60 years old now and [00:38:00] I, I get everything I need nutritionally from eating plants and no animals. [00:38:04] And I do know that. Eating animal products. The way we are in this country is causing enormous health problems. I know one of the primary nutrients we do not get in in this country is fiber and animal products have no fiber, whereas plant foods, whole plant foods. Full of fiber. So there there's some basic things I know in terms of the nutrients directly from plants. [00:38:29] I think it makes sense just from an efficiency standpoint, you know, to eat the plant directly from the earth instead of taking the plant and feeding it to an animal and then eating the animal. And I have also heard that, you know, the animals get their nutrients from the plant. So might as well go right to the plants. [00:38:46] So, so that all makes sense to me, although I'm not again, deeply knowledgeable about that nutritional question. But what I do know is I've been a vegan a long time and it works, and I know some of the best athletes in [00:39:00] the world have performed at their best eating a plant-based diet and people like Carl Lewis, for example, You know, did his best times as a vegan. [00:39:10] So, you know, we can perform at a very high level eating plants instead of here. [00:39:15] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah, I love that documentary. I think it's called agents of change about ventures. Game-changers yes. Game-changers. I always get the two confused game-changers about, about the peak performing athletes who are all vegan plant-based I thought that, you know, if that's not going to inspire you to think about health as a vegan, I'm not sure will. [00:39:36] What will so I have just I know you, you have to go and I so appreciate you taking the time. I have just a couple of other questions. Can you, can you be a futurist for a second? And talk to me about your vision for 2040. What, what do you see? How do you see us doing, as you can talk about the climate crisis about. [00:39:57] You know, animal agriculture, [00:40:00] plant-based movement, veganism, anything. Where do you see us as a society and as a planet 20 years? [00:40:07] Gene Baur: Oh gosh. It's really hard to know exactly. But what I'd say is that it, it appears to me and it feels to me like there's a convergence of it. Yeah. You know, whether it's the ethical treatment of other animals, whether it's the destruction of the, by the, the ecosystems and the earth and, you know, the climate crisis whether it's our own personal health, whether it's our own emotional health and community health, you know, all of these things can be pinned to the factory farming industry, which is a contributor to them. [00:40:36] And the solutions are in eating healthier. A plant-based diet that is produced in a more sustainable eco-friendly way. So I think, you know, where things currently stand, there's an awful lot of investment in large efforts to replace animal foods in our fast food industry, in our mainstream food system. [00:40:59] And I think those are [00:41:00] positive. But I also am a very strong proponent of a more grassroots, localized food system where you have. You know, food, not lawns efforts, you have urban agriculture. You have people growing their own food. You have community gardens, you have community supported agriculture. [00:41:17] So I, I think that a robust grass roots food movement to me is something that really feels good. You could even have like rooftop gardens. You could have vertical farms and in some urban settings, so local food fresh. Plant food produce locally to me is, is great. And so that's the bi-modal system. [00:41:40] Again, you have this kind of localized versus a more industrialized plant-based options that will replace meat and current in the current machinery. So those are the two kind of. Parallel pushes happening and, and I support them both. Although, you know, as an idealist, I I'm a [00:42:00] bigger fan of the locals. [00:42:02] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah, absolutely. The thing, the thing that that's always interested me about what you're saying is that you have to want to, right. The, the person who's got a, who lives in Brooklyn, New York has to want to, there's no lawn. I have no lawn. Right. So I have to want to go. To the closest a community garden. And I have to want to work in the soil and I have to want to tend the crops that I'm growing it. [00:42:28] Even if it's like a 10 foot by 10 foot plot, what would we do? How, how do we encourage people to even begin to think about it? Because I, I grew up in Detroit, even though I wasn't born in the USA, but I grew up in Detroit and the urban farming initiatives there. Blow my mind and, and people are, are really because, and it's because so much has been abandoned there that there are these plots of land doing nothing. [00:42:53] So people have started doing it. They've started these urban gardening and urban farming initiatives there, [00:43:00] but in a, in a, in a place like Brooklyn, there's not too much. That's abandoned. How do we talk to people in those areas and say, Hey, this is a possibility for you. Where do we need to start [00:43:11] Gene Baur: with. [00:43:12] Yeah, no. In places like Brooklyn, where, where land really as it, or is it a premium? It gets a lot tougher, you know, but there is, I think, a growing hunger for green space for open space and opportunities for gardening, even in very small plots even container gardening, like, you know, on the back porch, for example, you can sometimes have a container to grow some herbs if nothing else. [00:43:35] But you know, In addition to like the physical limitations, which I hear and understand are significant in places like Brooklyn, there are also just, how do you get people to want to do this? Part of it is just by seeing others do it. You know, we are social animals and if we see somebody else doing something. [00:43:52] You know, there's a good chance we might start doing it. So the more that this happens, you know, like in Detroit, as you were describing, I think the more [00:44:00] it will pick up momentum because I believe that being with the earth, having our hands in the soil is actually healing and it feels really good. So once people start doing that and they recognize how beneficial it is, I think more and more people are going to want to do it. [00:44:16] And in places like Brooklyn, you know, again, land is very limited. So maybe rooftop. Or one of the possible options public spaces, you know, some parks, you know, might be made available to have some, some gardening space. But I think expanding green spaces and adding food production in some of those could be a solution. [00:44:37] There are food forests. So, you know, Trees that are producing fruit. For example, in some of these green spaces could be another part of the solution. So it's going to be multi valence. It's not going to be one thing or another. It can be a variety [00:44:49] Izolda Trakhtenberg: of things. I, again, I hope so. I keep saying to your responses, I keep going. [00:44:55] Yes, I hope so. Yeah. And it's interesting to me, rooftop gardens do a [00:45:00] lot to cool the buildings, so it saves energy. In that way, too. And, and I hope that that keeps going and growing because there is an initiative to have that, to address the urban heat island effect in, in these urban areas. I would love, I, first of all, gene, I know you have to go, but I would love to find out from you and I'm going to put it in the show notes also. [00:45:20] Where, if someone, if someone wants to follow your work, where would they go to find you? And I'll put the links in the show notes, but I like people learn differently. So if you could say where someone would be able to locate your work and what you're doing, I would love to have that information. [00:45:36] Gene Baur: Yes, absolutely. [00:45:37] Well, you know, we have at farm sanctuary, we have a website, farm sanctuary.org. We also have an Instagram account, a Twitter account and a Facebook for farm sanctuary. And then also I have my own Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for Jean Bauer. So people can go to either or both of those to keep in touch with us and to track our work. [00:45:59] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:46:00] Fabulous. Thank you so much for saying that. And I will put all of that and game-changers. Do engagements have changed? I don't know why game changers and, and csa.org is the community supported agriculture link. I'll put all of that in the show notes so that if you're interested in finding out more about gene Bauer and his work farm sanctuary how to get involved in a CSA, you'll be able to do it from the show notes of the page. [00:46:23] Jean I'm. So. So grateful that you took the time to be here. I really appreciate it. I have just one last question and it's a silly question, but I find that it yields some profound answers. And the question is this. If you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say? [00:46:44] Gene Baur: Wow. I mean, probably kindness. I think kindness is one of those really important kind of unifying values. I don't think anybody says it's bad to be kind. I mean, they might, they might say, oh, you're being idealistic or you're [00:47:00] not being realistic for instance, but nobody, I think disagrees with the aspiration of kindness. [00:47:06] So kindness matters. Be kind. I think that is one of the most important things for us to aspire. [00:47:13] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Fabulous. I love it. I love it, Jean, once again. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you taking the. [00:47:20] Gene Baur: Absolutely. Thank you so much as all the great talking with you. [00:47:23] Izolda Trakhtenberg: This is Izolda Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset podcast. [00:47:26] If you've enjoyed this episode, and I know you have share it out, tell your friends this is important work, gene Bauer and the farm sanctuary movement. They're doing incredible work on behalf of the whole place. All the animals, including us. I hope that you've enjoyed the episode and this is me reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love. [00:47:50] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and [00:48:00] rate it and let other people. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on patrion.com/innovative mindset. [00:48:08] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg and his copyright 2020. As always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset. * I am a Brain.fm affiliate. If you purchase it through the above links and take the 20% off, I’ll get a small commission. And please remember, I’ll never recommend a product or service I don’t absolutely love!
Since 1986, as co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Baur has made it his mission to raise awareness about the abuses of factory farming and the devastation that our agriculture and food system has had on animals, workers, and those of us who consume the food. It’s not a comfortable topic because no one wants to experience the horrors at these factory farms and slaughterhouses; however, for as driven as he is, you will also never meet someone more gentle, kind, loving, and empathetic as Gene. He is a special soul and has had a hand in providing refuge, care, and healing for thousands of farm animals who otherwise would not have made it. In fact, TIME Magazine has hailed Gene as “the conscience of the food movement” for his 35-years of dedicated service. Gene is a beacon of light whose purpose is centered on not just providing sanctuary for these animals, but also - without judgment - getting people back in touch with their humanity and aligning their actions with their values. You'll hear Gene speak about: The early days of Farm Sanctuary and his rescue missions Stories about Hilda and other animals who have now become ambassadors for other animals Why it's so vital to treat these farm animals as friends and not food The three areas of work for the Sanctuary - Rescue, Education, Advocacy How you can help support the work of Farm Sanctuary Today’s conversation is uplifting and heartwarming, as much as it is educational and powerful. Open your hearts to one of the biggest hearts, Gene Baur, Founder of Farm Sanctuary. About Gene Baur A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations and farm animal rescue, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting the deplorable conditions. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals, and his rescue work inspired an international farm sanctuary movement. Gene was instrumental in passing the first U.S. laws prohibiting inhumane animal confinement and continues working on systemic food industry reforms. His work has been covered by major media outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, the New York Times, LA Times, and Wall Street Journal among others. Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine and named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 Givers. Episode Resources Farm Sanctuary Website - The Power of Sanctuary PLANTSTRONGFoods.com - Order our new popcorn and dessert-inspired granolas Our Virtual PLANTSTOCK Returns September 8-12th - Register today Join the PLANTSTRONG Community Theme Music for Episode Promo Theme Music
The Potential of Plant Based Diets for Fighting the Climate Crisis with Gene Baur
Traipsin' Global on Wheels Podcast Hour
In this podcast, Gene Baur shares his vision about veganism as well as Farm Sanctuary and his animal advocacy work. Gene Baur also discusses accessibility to the disability community at his Farm Sanctuary sites.
#140 - Gene Baur: Industrial Food, Alternative Proteins, and the Dream of Something Better
Eat For The Planet with Nil Zacharias
Gene Baur is an author, activist and the President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary.Questions explored on this episode. Should we minimize harm within the dominant industrial food model or focus efforts to develop a decentralized, local/regional, community-oriented food system? Can plant-based foods truly be a solution to the problems with our current system, or will they get swept up by a model that thrives on extraction, exploitation, oppression, and appropriation of land? Is big meat getting involved in the plant-based space good or bad?Show Page: https://eftp.co/gene-baur-2Newsletter signup: https://eftp.co/newsletterFollow us on InstagramFollow Nil Zacharias on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ep146 - Arielle Crawford, Gene Baur, Jodi Monelle & Liz Dee | Climate Change, Sustainability, and What You Can Do to Make an Impact
Talks at Google
From the earth’s tallest peaks to the ocean floor, no part of the world is spared of climate change. Right now we are facing a disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years - climate change. In an effort to inspire change, we sat down with experts who have built sustainable organizations and are making revolutionary efforts to combat climate change by doing everyday activities in a more sustainable way. Collectively, we can make a world of difference. About the Panelists: Arielle Crawford -- is the founder and designer of ARIELLE, a sustainable apparel label committed to regenerative materials, fair-trade labor, supply chain integrity and consumer education. Her clean and timeless aesthetic encourages a “less, but better” approach to fashion, reflecting both legacy craftsmanship and modern versatility. She draws upon her resourceful upbringing in West Texas, her experience in the NYC fashion industry, her studies with indigenous communities in South America, and low-footprint living for the inspiration of her mission-driven brand. Gene Baur -- has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about factory farming and the urgent need to fix our broken food system. His most important achievements include winning the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and introducing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming confinement methods in Florida, Arizona, and California. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. Gene has published two bestsellers, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale, 2015), which he co-authored with Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone. He was recently named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 Givers. Jodi Monelle -- is the founder and CEO of global plant-based media company, LIVEKINDLY. With the highest engagement rate of any plant-based media publisher, LIVEKINDLY is focused on empowering people to make positive changes - big or small - in their own lives, and to show how daily actions make a difference in the world. Liz Dee -- is Co-President of Smarties Candy Company, makers of Smarties candy rolls. She is CEO of Baleine & Bjorn Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in businesses creating solutions to outdated animal products, and founder of Vegan Ladyboss, a global community of organized, connected and empowered vegan women. Moderated by Deepika Phakke. Visit http://g.co/TalksAtGoogle/ClimateImpact to watch the video.
Gene Baur is a pioneer in the farm sanctuary movement. He began his work in the eighties and eventually developed bicoastal farm animal rescues that save over 1,000 animals a year. Farm Sanctuary does more than just rescue, though. The multi-pronged organization is working on systematic change to find solutions that will not only improve animal welfare but eventually put an end to factory farming. In this episode, Gene enlightens us on the origins of Farm Sanctuary, shares heartwarming stories of animals he has saved, discusses progress and challenges within the animal welfare movement, and admits that the movement needs to do a better job of diversifying its leadership and audience. It’s a well-rounded hour that will keep your attention from start to finish. What we discuss in this episode: - The origins of Farm Sanctuary - How the veal industry is born out of the dairy industry - The role farm sanctuaries play in public education - Common diseases found on factory farms - Issues with “grass-fed” and “organic” animals - Diet and privilege, the whiteness of the animal rights movement - Government money funneled into animal agriculture - Gene’s books: Farm Sanctuary and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life - Learn more at Farmsanctuary.org or follow Gene @genebaur Connect with Switch4Good - YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ2toqAmlQpwR1HDF_KKfGg - Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Switch4Good/ - Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/switch4good/ - Twitter - https://twitter.com/Switch4GoodOrg - Website - https://switch4good.org/
How to Eat Healthy & with Compassion with Gene Baur | MGC Ep. 18
The Mind Gut Conversation Podcast
There are many ways one can look at the benefit of a particular diet, and most of these perspectives are based on what is good for the consumer. But when it comes to the aspect of plant based diets and compassion towards animals, there are few individuals who can match Gene Baur’s authority and track record, and it is for that reason that Gene has been called the “conscience of the food movement” by Time Magazine. Gene is the co founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America's leading farm animal protection organization. He played a significant role in passing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming systems - including the California ban on foie gras. His efforts have been covered by leading news organizations, and his books, entitled: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life - The ultimate guide to eating mindfully, living longer, and feeling better every day. Watch the video format of this podcast here: https://youtu.be/1993GTRSx1w Follow Dr. Mayer: https://linktr.ee/emayer
The inspiring founder of the Farm Sanctuary (find them on Twitter!), Gene Baur, returns to talk about the massive advantages of a plant based diet. We also talk about how amazing turkeys are and the tragedy of slaughtering millions of them in the name of gratitude. Gene has made an enormous impact in the world on behalf of animals and the better health of our planet. Please take a few minutes and listen to this humble warrior for animal justice.Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time Magazine. For more than 25 years he has traveled extensively around the country, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our current food system.A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses documenting their deplorable conditions. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals.Gene has also testified in courts and before local, state, and federal legislative bodies, advocating for better conditions for farm animals. His most important achievements include winning the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and introducing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming confinement methods in Florida, Arizona, and California. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller.Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode Cowspiracy Racing Extinction An Inconvenient Truth Please Consider Writing An Honest Review of What Matters MostIf you enjoyed this — or any! — episode of the What Matters Most podcast, please leave a review of the show! Reviews help boost the show in rankings, which makes it more visible… and that means more listeners! It’s a great way to spread the word about What Matters Most!Create your review – click here!Read The Book That Inspires The ShowPaul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents, including special guest the journalist and author Bill Moyers.Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.Support Our Worldwide MissionWhat Matters Most is 100% listener supported by generous pledges from people just like you.Did this episode speak to you? Please consider pledging your support for as little as $5.00 per month… or pledge at higher levels and enjoy perks like a guided meditation audiobook, a library of Paul Samuel Dolman e-books… and more!Full details on how to become a patron can be found at https://www.patreon.com/whatmattersmost.Can’t contribute financially? Consider writing a positive review of the show at Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.Thank you! The post Gene Baur #745 appeared first on Paul Samuel Dolman.
President and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Baur will talk about the warm, nurturing personalities of turkeys, who possess strong personalities, form friendships, and have a wide range of interests. Farm Sanctuary inspires people to think about turkeys differently. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project has encouraged people to sponsor a rescued “spokesturkey” for Thanksgiving instead of eating one.