While Gene Baur was earning college money acting in McDonald’s and KFC commercials, he never dreamed that one day he’d sneak into meat-processing factories to save animals destined to become Big Macs or “finger-lickin’ good” fried chicken.
Or that, as the co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, he’d rescue a freezing, nearly dead newborn calf from an alleyway behind a Bath, New York stockyard:
When we noticed him, Opie was practically comatose… I offered to take the dying calf… and [the stockyard worker] agreed.
Although a veterinarian couldn’t get a thermometer to register Opie’s temperature, she gave him IV fluids and a 5-percent chance of survival. Then the author of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life transported the little calf to the Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary.
After a few days of around-the-clock care, Baur recalls, Opie was eating normally and ready to socialize with the Sanctuary’s other cows:
As they gathered around his pen, mooing and nuzzling him through the fence, Opie perked up and within minutes, he was happy — he started bucking and kicking up his heels.
Blessed with a gentle personality that endeared him to the Sanctuary’s other rescued animals — and thousands of visitors — Opie topped out at 3,000 pounds and lived to the ripe old age of 18!
And it was all thanks to Baur, who became an animal advocate and vegan in 1985 after reading Frances Moore’s Diet for a Small Planet. In the early years of his transformation, he showed up at Grateful Dead concerts selling tofu hot dogs out of a VW van.
The proceeds went to financing his undercover slaughterhouse missions. And the van sported a bumper sticker asking, “You love animals called pets. Why do you eat animals called dinner?”
In the first half of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, Baur shares his Five Tenets for living the best possible life:
Live and Eat in Alignment with Your Values
Engage in a Mindful Connection with Animals
Engage in a Mindful Connection with Your Food
Eat Plants … for Your Health
Eat Plants… for the Health of the Earth
He devotes the second half to making the first half possible, with instructions for setting up a functional vegan kitchen and dozens of creative plant-based recipes.