By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau
Ag buddies of mine sent me a news announcement from Arizona State University (ASU) that Gene Baur, founder of Farm Sanctuary and author of the book, “Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food” (Simon & Schuster), will be at Arizona State University’s West campus tomorrow (Sept. 30) to talk about people’s food choices and what the ASU release describes as the “unsustainable nature of animal agriculture.”
The announcement goes on for more than 700 words speaking in glowing terms of Baur’s animal rights efforts. “Gene Baur is well known and well respected for his insightful promotion of animal rights, that animals are not simply a commodity,” says Elizabeth Langland, New College dean. “Through Farm Sanctuary and his writing, he has advanced the way we think of the animal products we eat; he has raised our consciousness, and what he has to say on the 30th will be of great interest to the audience.”
We certainly know Dean Langland’s feelings toward him.
But Baur and I must be living in two different worlds? The ASU announcement discusses Baur’s three decades of investigations into large animal production, claiming “what he viewed as unacceptable practices.”
Well, the nearly five decades (uh oh, revealing my age) I’ve lived and breathed animal agriculture (pun intended) as a farm kid observing and witnessing small, medium and large-scale operations, I’m not convinced he’s really seen legitimate American animal agriculture production and certainly not Arizona animal agriculture.
When on the rare occasions that poorly-managed animal operations of any size are uncovered under our regulatory bodies mishandling is addressed. We can’t speak for other countries, but the United States has one of the most effective systems for ferreting out the occasional bad operation.

Baur makes the broad statement as if animal agriculture equates to abuse of animals: “Farm Sanctuary exposes the abuse of animal agriculture and seeks to educate and empower citizens to make conscientious and healthful food choices,” says Baur. “How we eat has profound consequences, and we don’t think enough about these.

Again, what world is Baur living in? My own treatise on the issue of animal agriculture and our God-given right to eat animal protein makes me scratch my head. But hey, Baur must be from another world.
Notes on tomorrow’s appearance: Arizona animal agriculturalists should consider attending to see what Baur says. Baur’s appearance is part of the weekly ThinK (Thursday’s in Kiva) series produced by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The Sept. 30 discussion takes place in the Kiva Lecture Hall on the West campus at 6 p.m. and is free to the community (parking at the West campus is $2 per hour).
 Key words: Arizona Farmers and Ranchers, Animal Rights in Arizona