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Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food [Paperback]

Gene Baur
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 4 2008
Leading animal rights activist Gene Baur examines the real cost of the meat on our plates -- for both humans and animals alike -- in this provocative and thorough examination of the modern farm industry.

Many people picture cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens as friendly creatures who live happily within the confines of a peaceful family farm, arriving as food for humans only at the end of their sun-drenched lives. That's what Gene Baur had been told -- but when he first visited a stockyard he realized that this rosy depiction couldn't be more inaccurate.

Amid the stench, noise, and filth, his attention was drawn in particular to one sheep who had been cast aside for dead. But as Baur walked by, the sheep raised her head and looked right at him. She was still alive, and the one thing Baur knew for sure that day was that he had to get her to safety. Hilda, as she was later named, was nursed back to health and soon became the first resident of Farm Sanctuary -- an organization dedicated to the rescue, care, and protection of farm animals.

The truth is that farm production does not depend on the family farmer with a small herd of animals but instead resembles a large, assembly-line factory. Animals raised for human consumption are confined for the entirety of their lives and often live without companionship, fresh air, or even adequate food and water.Viewed as production units rather than living beings with feelings, ten billion farm animals are exploited specifically for food in the United States every year.

In Farm Sanctuary, Baur provides a thoughtprovoking investigation of the ethical questions involved in the production of beef, poultry, pork, milk,and eggs -- and what each of us can do to stop the mistreatment of farm animals and promote compassion. He details the triumphs and the disappointments of more than twenty years on the front lines of the animal protection movement. And he introduces sanctuary. us to some of the special creatures who live at Farm Sanctuary -- from Maya the cow to Marmalade the chicken -- all of whom escaped horrible circumstances to live happier, more peaceful lives. Farm Sanctuary shows how all of us have an opportunity and a responsibility to consume a kinder plate, making a better life for ourselves and animals as well. You will certainly never think of a hamburger or chicken breast the same way after reading this book.

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From Publishers Weekly

In 1986, after rescuing a live sheep from a pile of dead animals in a stockyard, the author founded Farm Sanctuary, an organization that rescues discarded living animals from stockyards, slaughterhouses and factory farms; provides shelters for them; and advocates for humane animal treatment. In this impassioned book, Baur paints an appealing picture of these shelters and the animals that live there far from the brutality of industrial farming, which he describes in detail. Some of this inhumane treatment is not news—chickens packed into tiny cages—but accounts of living animals discarded like garbage because they are ill or weak surprise. Baur's nonprofit promotes legal remedies to stop the inhumane conditions chronicled. He believes that the best way to demonstrate concern for industrially farmed animals is to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but doesn't proselytize. Rather, he makes a strong case that meat eaters have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the animals they eat have not been abused. His well-argued book includes helpful lists of resources and organizations that deal with factory farming, animal welfare rights, humane food production and the environment. 18 b&w photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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." -- Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace

"Starting in the 1980s, Gene rescued neglected, abused, and injured animals from the appalling, disgusting conditions at auctions and stockyards. Meet in this insightful book the fascinating animals he saved." -- Dr. Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

"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." -- Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States

"A beautiful and stirring book, as filled with the spirit of mercy as the place that inspired it." -- Matthew Scully, author of Dominion

"Farm animals couldn't ask for a better advocate than Gene Baur." -- Rory Freedman, coauthor of Skinny Bitch

"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." -- Moby

"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." -- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book Sept. 1 2011
Format:Paperback
This is a must read...for well, everybody. He does a great job of outlining the inhumane practices in meat production but at the same time constrasting that with stories of hope and happiness. This should be given to every 16 year old high school student in the country and once they are informed they can make their own decisions. I can only assume that this practice is allowed because people are ignorant of what exactly is going on out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Farm Sanctuary April 3 2011
By MORGANA
Format:Paperback
Anoher excellent book. A man's journey, compassion and the inside scoop on the meat industry.

I highly recommend and everyone should read something on the cruelty animals are being put through daily and needlessly for profit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative! Dec 29 2008
Format:Paperback
The first five chapters of this book are dedicated to the story of Gene Baur's animal activist past and how Farm Sanctuary got started.

The parts I was most interested in, however, were the three chapters outlining the common practices of industrial farming with a focus on the three most extreme forms of confinement (gestation crates for sows, battery cages for hens and veal crates for calves) Gene Baur tells it like it is from point A to point B with all the details in between. The information in this book is reliable because its based not only on research but on the author's own personal stories of trips to stock yards, factory farms and slaughter houses.

Not only has this book given me loads of information on industrial farming but it has brought to light just how unique and intelligent farmed animals really are! This book may break your heart, but thankfully, between each chapter Gene tells an uplifting, inspirational story of a Farm Sanctuary animal resident and their path to freedom. :)

Throughout the book and in the final chapters Gene talks about the law: past and present reforms, Farm Sanctuary success stories, industry's control of government officials/law makers etc... It has made me realize just how little rights farmed animals have in todays farming industry and how much information is intentionally and systematically hidden from the general public. It's a total shame!

Although I gained a lot from this book, I did, however, find Gene Baur's message to be a little blurry. For example, Gene is a vegan himself and throughout the book he makes it clear that he is morally opposed to animal exploitation...Yet, his activism is based on reform and IMHO reform only creates more animal exploitation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, provocative, life changing March 1 2008
By J. Stepaniak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This beautifully written, engaging, and compelling book tells the story of Gene Baur -- a modern-day hero and trailblazer -- and his remarkable journey of bringing light, peace, health, hope, and sanctuary to thousands of rescued farmed "animal ambassadors," the few who have been incredibly fortunate to call Farm Sanctuary home. In the telling of the founding and mission of Farm Sanctuary, Baur exposes the heart-wrenching truth about the disappearance of the American family farm and its replacement with the horrific evolution of mechanized, factory-style, farmed animal production, which has taken a devastating toll on American farmers, our land, our environment, our health, and the individual animals who suffer disgusting, unspeakable abuses at the hands of humans in the process of becoming "food."

It is also a story of courage, compassion, and hope. Through his revelations, Baur reveals the unique personalities of these animals, whom we come to see as the individuals they are, and in the process, compels us to explore our own hearts of compassion and seek practical ways to create and support positive social change.

Baur is a gifted writer who sheds a bright light on a dark, demonic segment of our culture. His bold accomplishments will astound, unsettle, startle, provoke, and move you to action. Farm Sanctuary is both a fascinating and disturbing page-turner and a testament to how one man's fortitude can ignite the mercy within us all. It is a powerful, important, and unforgettable book.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely, moving, and inspirational Feb. 24 2008
By Bernard Unti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If any book can change hearts and minds, it's this one. It comes out just as tens of millions of Americans are first learning what a "downed animal" is, and the scandal surrounding cruelty to animals in a slaughtering facility sends our federal food safety bureacracy into panic. That's somehow appropriate, for there are few individuals who have labored as long, as hard, and with as much patience as Gene Baur to bring the abuse of farm animals to public attention. Baur's principled compassion and quiet sense of mission lead from modest beginnings selling soy hot dogs from a VW van in the caravan trailing the Grateful Dead to the leadership of what is arguably the most effective farm animal advocacy group in the world. In Baur's telling, it is the animals that his organization saves who change hearts and minds. But his constancy, gentle style, and desire to engage with both people and animals come through in this wonderful account of nearly a quarter century of activism, and he emerges as a hero, deeply rooted in the finest traditions of American social reform. Whether he's writing about agricultural economics, relating his exchange with a neighboring farmer, explaining the strategy behind a campaign, or reflecting on the life of an animal rescued from the dead pile, his work moves, calls, and persuades the reader to the rightness of his thought.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why farmed animals need sanctuary March 2 2008
By Judith Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gene Baur's primary concern is the humane treatment of farmed animals. He connects the abusive cruelties resulting from factory farming, to environmental depredation and health risks to both human and farm animal populations. This book is a passionate and reasoned look at a topic that deserves the attention and understanding of anyone who eats to stay alive.

Farm Sanctuary chronicles Baur's personal development as an activist on behalf of factory farmed animals. The organization he founded is as the subtitle states, 'changing hearts and minds about animals and food.' (And changing laws to better protect farmed animals as well). For anyone unfamiliar with the accelerated assembly line that now treats animals like machines in order to glut the market with cheap meat, milk and eggs, this book will be an excellent introduction to that history and a survey of present conditions. For those already familiar with the cruelties, false economies and environmental dangers euphemistically known as 'concentrated or confined animal feeding operations' Baur has readably chronicled, widely and deeply, the realities for the animals and those who tend the animals-as-machines, as well as the consumer.

Background stories on the rescued non-human residents of Farm Sanctuary provide living examples of the manipulation and abuse that farm animals suffer. Downed animals are a case in point. Baur and his organization have worked for the humane treatment of 'downers' -- animals too weak, sick or injured and unable to walk into the slaughterhouse. Such animals are not legally supposed to enter the food supply, but there is every economic incentive to prod, drag or otherwise coerce a weak animal to walk, because a downed animal makes no money for anyone. One case in particular (p. 31), illustrates "another absurd feature of the economics of farming. Clearly the humane thing to do was to euthanize the cow. If she'd died without the vet's intervention, insurance probably would have covered her market price; if she'd survived, a local slaughterhouse might have paid something for her meat. Euthanizing her meant a financial loss -- it was cheaper to leave the cow alive and suffering. Economic interests were in direct conflict with humane concerns."

In addition to the book's comprehensive coverage of the conditions under which farmed animals are raised and slaughtered, an appendix of associated resources is also included, as well as a bibliography for related reading.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truthful, touching and tear-jerking March 20 2008
By M. Wadzeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The very first time I visited Farm Sanctuary, I knew I had found my haven. Two years later, after interning at the New York shelter, followed by 1 1/2 years of employment there working with the animals that have a safe place thanks to Gene, I have just finished reconnecting with my initial bliss and thrill by reading this book.

Being in the world of Farm Sanctuary working hands-on with those animals, who, like Gene states, are each individuals, is a positively unique experience. Though I may seem a bit biased by writing this review, I must say that I have truly experienced the Farm, Gene's story, and the animals in a refreshing, new and beautiful way.

If you are new to the animal protection movement, and do not know yet the facts about industrialized farming, and the terrible falls our society has made toward abuse and neglect (by way of animals as well as consumers, farmers, employees and your every day family trying to eat a decent meal), then I STRONGLY recommend this being the first book to introduce you to these issues.

Written with a sense of passion, but without the sometimes harsh political jargon of AR activists that may appear to the average person as slanted, Gene weaves the roots of his activism and beliefs, factual information, touching stories about real animals, and the history of (in my opinion) the most bold, successful and important animal sanctuary in existence into an captivating read.

I believe that in years to come, once this incredible book has circled the hands of people over and over, that we shall see even more of a spread of compassion around and back again. Farm Sanctuary's story is an important one to tell, and god bless Gene, his work ethic and drive to have completed it and put it forth for the world to hear. For those of you out there, pass this on to everyone you love-- it just might change their minds, hearts and lives.. as well as the lives of animals depending on us to help.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars needed perspective June 18 2008
By Elayne Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Farm Santuary lifts the dark veil covering our animal food industry. It is time to stop pretending that food comes in plastic and paper containers from the grocery store. Animal abuse and pain are an unacceptable link in our food chain. This book offers reality and good storytelling to bring awareness that our animal farming practices are not acceptable to Americans.
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