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Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,209 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
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

Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Touchstone (first published March 4th 2008)
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Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Amazing book by one of my favourite organizations: <3

Devastating yet hopeful, heartbreaking yet heartwarming.. this is a wonderful book that I think everyone would benefit from reading. I think it's so important that we understand where our food comes from and educate ourselves with how it's made. After each chapter there's a profile featuring one of the many animals at the sanctuary that they've rescued. ♥ There's also a list of resources included at the back of the
Ira Therebel
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks ago on a weekend trip to Watkins Glen I went to a restaurant that promotd vegetarian options on its window and found a leaflet inviting to visit Farm Sanctuary that was a short drive away. Of course I went. It ended up being a wonderful experience. I saw many well taken care of animals, got to interact with these friendly creatures and heard a lot of storis from the tourguide. When leaving I saw this book in the gift shop and jus had to have it. And I am very glad I did.

This book tel
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all the causes one could devote their life to in this world — farm animals? It's easy to forget how much we love them. Gene Baur offers a reminder.

Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary,, a farm animal protection organization with sanctuaries in New York and California, talks about his activism on behalf of farmed animals.

The book contains disturbing descriptions of suffering and facts about how animals are treated. It also examines the consequences for human health
Dec 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shaya by: Robert
I thought Farm Sanctuary was good not incredible. I liked the beginning that was more personal narrative and described the path to creating Farm Sanctuary. The part in the middle was less engaging. Maybe that's because I have read other books and get the basic point that our food system is really bad and cruel. I would have liked it if he had spent more time on kind solutions for the consumer to still eat animal products because I don't think the world will ever go entirely vegan, but creating d ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last Thanksgiving I adopted a turkey.

Ok, he didn't actually come to live with me; I "adopted" him financially with a gift to Farm Sanctuary.

Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farmed animals, began 20 years ago when Gene Baur rescued a goat -- which he named Hilda -- from a pile of dead goats in a stockyard.

In "Farm Sanctuary" Baur takes readers through the past 20 years of his life and that of his sanctuary, which now has two locations -- Watkins Glen, NY, and Orland, CA. He recounts stories of
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw Gene Baur interviewed last year on Jon Stewart's Daily Show and felt compelled to read his book, Farm Sanctuary. I have to admit it took me several months to finish the book as I would take long pauses between chapters. He provides his hard to stomach real life experiences saving farm animals in dire situations and also goes into great detail describing current commercial farming industry practices. As a vegetarian, I found it hard to read some of the gruesome stories, but found the rescue ...more
Sally Bennett
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Having visited Farm Sanctuary and heard Gene Baur speak on more than one occasion, I had a good idea what to expect from this book. I knew I would learn so much more than I had already learned, and the book didn't disappoint. More than ever, I so admire those activists who took action years before I finally figured it out. They've had to face so many hurdles and challenges and setbacks that would have defeated many.

As one already on board with the mindset, I found it hard to read some of the hor
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has changed my entire view on the meat that sits on the shelves of grocery stores. I do not eat meat but my family does and after reading this book I will be making some serious changes with the food that enters our house. There were moments where my jaw dropped to the floor at the cruelty some of these "farmers" inflicted on these defenseless animals and Gene Baur and his staff should be respected to the highest degree for the work they do. Farm Sanctuary is less than 4 hours from whe ...more
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm with Baur in spirit, but the writing was stilted, and the organization struck me as strange. There was no true narrative thread to follow throughout the book, and the book itself never seemed terribly human. Humane, yes. But there were no "characters" to connect to throughout the storytelling, no steady lens. I think I was more interested in the goings-on on the actual farm as opposed to the reasons for the farm--I didn't need the continual glimpses into slaughterhouses and onto feedlots or ...more
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
The first portion of the book was making it shape up to be nothing special. As a vegan and someone who has read many different accounts and facts about the horrors of CAFO's and slaughterhouses and the factory farming system in general, nothing was new to me. It also seemed like he wasn't promoting veganism but improved farming methods as a way to end the suffering (the book was only leading up and hinting at it until the end, where he explicitly stated it, so that's good) But it was Gene Baur's ...more
Linda Riebel
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, describes the cruelty of factory farming, where cows, chickens, and turkeys are confined, mistreated, and neglected in order to maximize profits. This thorough account also covers agribusiness practices, weak or poorly enforced laws, and exploitation of human workers. Profiles of individual rescued animals showcase the humane alternative Baur helped pioneer. The appendix of organizations and websites that support compassionate food and animal advocacy gives re ...more
Chris Fenn
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It must be understood that this book is aimed at the broader public, thus those familiar with veganism and animal advocacy may find it somewhat basic. Nevertheless Baur succeeds in weaving together an excellent general interest book that combines autobiography, advocacy and history. This is one of those books that re-affirms my own commitments and is a fascinating look at an unlikely success story. Having visited Farm Sanctuary this summer I wanted to know more and was very satisfied by this boo ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!

The Book was a wonderful read and full of information in regards to the welfare of animals that are viewed as commodities in Food Industry and how much the farming industry has changed over the last 50 years, I loved how the book also featured profiles of animals that were rescued by Gene (Author )and the Farm Sanctuary team. This Book is a wonderful read for anyone interested in how Animals are farmed in the 21st century, The treatment of animals in the production line(s)and
Tim Smerken
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Farm Sanctuary gives a very good description of many of the abuses that take place on factory farms, while also shining a positive light on the many animals that have been rescued and are now living out their lives at Farm Sanctuary. The book also features a large list of resources and organizations to follow for continued learning/guidance. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as it is very important to know the truth behind the food we eat!
Josephine Morris
This book so eloquently describes the plight of the over 10 billion (yes you read that right, 10 billion) farm animals that endure suffering every year in the United States for human consumption. Baer has reminded me the importance of living not only a vegetarian lifestyle but truly a compassionate vegan lifestyle. I am continually surprised at how positive he is about the small steps of progress being made in such a horrifying industry.
Bethany Ransom
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am visiting the southern California Farm Sanctuary in a couple of weeks so I decided to read this book to lean more about it. I already know the horrors of the factory farm industry so that part of the book wasn't new to me, but it was very well done. Reading about the cruelty brought tears to my eyes many times. I also had tears of happiness many times while reading the stories of the rescued animals. Farm Sanctuary is a wonderful organization. A very good book for anyone who likes animals.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Gene Bauer does a good job striking common ground with activists and non-vegetarians alike--I think it would appeal to anyone who cares about the environment, health, and basic animal welfare. A good overview of the ills of factory farming -- mixed with a lot of redemptive stories, personal anecdotes that make it an intimate and readable book.

Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly compelling book. It makes you think seriously about how animals are treated, the risks to their lives, and the impact on our health. I learned a lot about factory farming. And I was surprised to learn a lot about the farm animals themselves - particularly their social habits and their intelligence. Now I need to visit a Farm Sanctuary location to see these animals first-hand. And, think hard about what I'm putting in my stomach.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read on Farm Animals

Learned a lot. Not at all what I expected. Great companion book to Eating Animals. Gene Bauer does not come off preachy or judgmental but seems to be caring -- about PEOPLE, too. Not just the animals. Now, if only I could convince my family to allow me to adopt a rescued farm factory pig...!!
Catherine Kelaher
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vegan, animals, memoir
I really love Gene Baur’s book. It was wonderful to read about the founders who started by selling veggie dogs at Grateful Dead concerts and now run the largest farm animal sanctuary. I enjoyed the stories of individual animals and I felt like I really got to know some of Farm Sanctuary’s animal residents.
The book urges readers to extend the reach of human compassion and consume a kinder plate, making a better life for animals and for themselves. Farm Sanctuary is certain to touch readers throug
Marta Borowska
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What really sets this book apart from other animal rights books are the short stories about an animal at the end of each chapter. They were really enjoyable and put a personality to each pig, cow, goat, duck, turkey, and chicken. Made you think of them more on par with humans than just reading stats about them.

Gene talks about the journey he and his past partner Lorri took in creating a place called the Farm Sanctuary where they took in and rescued countless farm animals. He talks about all the
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Quite often, when the American public pictures a farm, images of green pastures and roaming animals come to mind. It is not often, that we picture two-foot wide wire cages with animals encrusted in manure. Sadly, this is exactly what many of our food animals live in for their few months of life.

Animal rights activitist Gene Baur takes us through the life of our food animals, examining the cruelty they are subjected to on a daily basis. From dairy cows to egg laying chickens, each species has it'
Laura J
A seminal work about the treatment of animals in the food industry and the evolution of a sanctuary for farmed animals. I so admire Gene Bauer for witnessing and documenting and then relating the situation in a straightforward way. I wish everyone would read this book.
I especially liked the last chapter. A few key passages:
"The best and easiest way to promote health, compassion, and sustainability is to adopt a vegan lifestyle and to buy locally produced, organic plant foods. Animal foods...was
Jul 25, 2011 added it
A great read that inspires generosity in our compassion and fresh thinking about old habits. This book is part historical account of Gene Baur's road to sanctuary, part expose of the many problems stemming from modern factory or assembly-line "farming," and part guidebook for living a more conscious, sustainable, and humane life.

I especially appreciated this clarification Baur provided: "This [animal rights] cause does not seek to provide animals with the same rights that oppressed people have
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who eats
Farm Sanctuary tells the story of the how this animal rights and rescue organization began and how it is continuing to work today. The author and founder of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Baur, does an excellent job of making the case for being vegetarian or vegan, but without being overly graphic or condemning. Instead of trying to convince everyone to be vegan, Baur is trying to get more humane animal laws in place for the farm animals some of us eat. I personally don't think becoming vegetarian or vega ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gene Baur is one of the founders of Farm Sanctuary from wence this book's title comes. The book, however, doesn't spend a lot of time talking about life at Farm Sanctuary's locations in New York state or in California. Most of Baur's tale is of the work he's done trying to fight for better lives for farmed animals, mostly on a much larger, government level. There is lots of insight into what different farmed animals go through - especially cows, pigs, chickens, calves raised for veal, and ducks ...more
Alexa Hamilton
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore vegans and animal rights activists
Shelves: green-ish, food
I think the commercial farming practices in the United States are appropriate or respectful of the animals and Gene Baur takes this argument a step further and declares that an animal-eating lifestyle is inherently violent. Fortunately for this book, he doesn't reiterate this idea on every page but it does color the book somewhat. That being said, Farm Sanctuary is an incredible place for animals to go and it stands as a place that educates and informs vegetarians and meat eaters alike about wha ...more
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, ebook, non-fiction, food
While this book didn't tell me much I didn't already know about how farm animals are treated in the industrial agriculture system, it's always good to head it again. This was not the best written book ever, but it was extremely compelling, and made this vegetarian seriously consider turning vegan. While I do believe Baur's conclusion is flawed -- the entire world become vegan is highly unlikely, and animal welfare is only a symptom of the disease, which is industrialized agriculture. Unfortunate ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farm Sanctuary is an organization which is instantly familiar to most people in the humane community. Here, founder Gene Baur recounts the group’s founding from the very beginning, when he rescued a sheep from a stockyard “dead pile” and thus had to take a crash course in farm animal care.

Many people, upon hearing the abuses that are heaped upon factory farmed animals, wonder how such treatment could be legal. Baur’s account is most telling when he recounts Farm Sanctuary’s battles against Big
Andrea Paterson
Not one of the more effective books I've read on dietary choices and animal welfare/rights. I admire Baur for the work he's done as an animal activist and I also admire his Farm Sanctuary project, but this book is mostly an autobiography, and not a very gripping one. Baur outlines all of his animal activism work and the book reads a bit like a very long resume. Yay for helping animals, but I did get a bit bored. I understand Baur's intention--he wants people to get to know animals, and includes ...more
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Gene Baur grew up in Hollywood, California and worked in television, film and commercials, including some for McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants. Today, he campaigns to raise awareness about the negative consequences of industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system. He lives in rural New York state and is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America's leading farm ani ...more
More about Gene Baur...
“The sixteen hundred dairies in California’s Central Valley alone produce more waste than a city of twenty-one million people-that’s more than the populations of London, New York, and Chicago combined.” 41 likes
“A noted writer in The Washington Post recently described the cause of compassion for farm animals as “the moral calling of our time.” 2 likes
More quotes…