Gene Baur is one of the biggest and most influential names in the farm animal movement. As cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, he’s dedicated the last 25 years to stopping cruelty and promoting a vegan diet.
We chatted with Gene at the Farm Sanctuary Gala on Saturday night and talked about his current “Just Eats Tour,” life in D.C. and more. Check out the interview below.
Also, at the bottom of the page you can watch the interview on video to see Gene in action. Afterall, in addition to having an amazing heart and brilliant mind, Mr. Baur is quite the looker. Who can resist?
Ecorazzi: What are we all doing here tonight?
Gene Baur: We’re here to celebrate Farm Sanctuary’s 25th anniversary at Cipriani’s. It’s a fancy black tie gala. So at Farm Sanctuary we touch people all over the place, at the farm, and also in the cities. But we’re here to celebrate Farm Sanctuary’s 25th anniversary.
Ecorazzi: I hear that you’re doing a cross country tour. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Gene Baur: Farm Sanctuary started in a VW van back in 1986 where we would document conditions in stockyards and rescue farm animals. And then we also took this van and sold veggie hot dogs at Grateful Dead concerts and at other festivals to raise funds. So we’ve gotten that van back in shape to get on the road and we’re taking it on the road tomorrow. We’re going to be at the veggie pride parade and then the next day we’re going actually to Lancaster PA where we spent a lot of time investigating the Lancaster stockyards. The stockyards have actually closed down. But we’re going to be having a vegan event at the Stockyard Inn. And they are going to have vegan items on their menu going forward. So we’re going to go cross country and it’s going to be an exploration of vegan america.
Ecorazzi: I heard you and Marisa Wolfson did a lot of eating in NYC yesterday. Where did you go?
Gene Baur: Oh gosh. We went to Candle 79. We went to Peace Food Cafe. We went to Caravan. We went to Cocoa V for chocolate. We went to Lula’s Sweet Apocathary. It was just an amazing couple days of eating and enjoying the incredible vegan food that’s available in NYC.
Ecorazzi: You live in D.C. currently. Do you miss the farm?
Gene Baur: I live in D.C. now and it’s more of an urban environment so I do miss being at the farm and seeing the animals and being in a rural environment. But there is an awful lot to do in the D.C. area and I also travel a lot so it’s easier to travel from Washington D.C. than it is from Elmira, NY. I’m happy to be where I am and I’m able to visit the farm.
Ecorazzi: You’ve been very involved with politics and getting new laws passed. Has being in D.C. been helpful for that?
Yes. Unfortunately farm animals are currently excluded from the Federal Animal Welfare Act, from basic humane protections. So being in Washington D.C. I hope to be able to weigh in and to start getting some laws changed and farm animal protection included. That’s not easy. I mean, Washington’s not an easy place to get things done. But just being there I think I will be able to insert these concerns and other issues and talk to other advocacy organizations and urge them to consider factory farming and plant based eating as important topics.