Wellness

Hero

The Guide to Living Compassionately

In partnership with our friends at
Farm Sanctuary Advertisement

Kim Gene Baur

Gene Baur is our hero. A pioneer of investigating animal abuse, Baur has done things few of us could stomach: He has documented some of the cruelest conditions at factory farms, slaughterhouses, and stockyards (i.e., wires cages so small they cause hens’ muscles and bones to deteriorate). He then testified before Congress for better conditions for farm animals. And it is largely because of his work that pigs, chickens,

cows, and other factory-farmed animals have any rights at all. Baur has introduced laws to end confinement methods in several states. And as president and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, he’s given thousands of abused and neglected farm animals a safe home for more than thirty years. Come to think of it, he’s not just our hero. He’s a hero to many thousands. We spoke to him about living in harmony with the world around us.

Gene Baur is our hero. A pioneer of investigating animal abuse, Baur has done things few of us could stomach: He has documented some of the cruelest conditions at factory farms, slaughterhouses, and stockyards (i.e., wires cages so small they cause hens’ muscles and bones to deteriorate). He then testified before Congress for better conditions for farm animals. And it is largely because of his work that pigs, chickens, cows, and other factory-farmed animals have any rights at all. Baur has introduced laws to end confinement methods in several states. And as president and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, he’s given thousands of abused and neglected farm animals a safe home for more than thirty years. Come to think of it, he’s not just our hero. He’s a hero to many thousands. We spoke to him about living in harmony with the world around us.

Want to help the planet? Put compassion first and choose plant-based for the new year. Reducing our animal-product consumption isn’t just cruelty-free—science shows it’s also critical to overall sustainability. Nearly 10 billion animals are slaughtered every year in the US alone. Here are five ways you can be good to the earth, up your self-care, and save lives—including your own.

Live and eat in alignment with your values.

A Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans believe animals should be protected from abuse. However, most of those same people don’t think twice about buying meat, milk, and eggs that come from factory-farmed animals. Consumers generally understand there is something wrong with our industrialized food system, but they are afraid to find out more. If every one of us made mindful choices about our food, we would be able to make a huge difference in our world.

Engage in a mindful connection with animals.

Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Time and time again, we learn that animals can anticipate the future, delay gratification, dream, play, use language and tools, and even show signs of empathy. Yet we choose to eat many animals who are just as intelligent as—if not more intelligent than—those with whom we share our homes as companions. We can reset our connection by spending time with these “other” animals at a sanctuary, adopting a farm animal, or gifting a one-time sponsorship to someone we love.

Engage in a mindful connection with your food.


Our food is among the most intimate connections we make with the earth. This more conscious approach to food inevitably leads us to select more healthful, sustainable, and responsible ingredients. It helps improve our physical and mental well-being, and it connects us to the source of our sustenance. It promotes local, seasonal choices that are nutrient-rich and ecologically sound. One of the best ways to observe mealtime mindfulness is to slow down and reflect on where your food comes from and the nutrients it delivers. There are also myriad health benefits: Researchers in Japan found that slow eaters have lower BMIs and trimmer waistlines.

Eat plants—for your health. 


Countless studies have highlighted the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. It’s been found to reduce the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, while preventing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. If personal health weren’t enough of a concern, there’s also public health: Some 75 percent of the antibiotics fed to farm animals end up undigested in their urine and manure. Through this waste, those antibiotics may contaminate crops and waterways and ultimately be ingested by humans.

Eat plants—for the health of the earth.

Animal agriculture leads as a climate-devastating culprit, wreaking havoc on our precious resources and putting our planet in peril. According to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, growing farm-animal feed crops places enormous demand on water resources: 87 percent of the use of fresh water in the US is for agriculture, primarily irrigation. Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 93 percent of water depletion, with the vast majority of fresh water used for farm-animal feed production. The industry is also responsible for more deadly greenhouse gases—18 percent of net greenhouse gas emissions—than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, ships, and other forms of transportation in the world combined. In other words, ridesharing and recycling aren’t going to cut it. We indeed are what we eat, and the time to embrace a plant-based diet is now.

Farm Animals Farm Animals Farm Animals Farm Animals

Photos courtesy of: Farm Sanctuary

You may also like