On August 11 and 12, 2018, Farm Sanctuary held its annual Hoedown at our picturesque New York Shelter in Watkins Glen, NY. Featuring presentations, discussion panels, and book signings by leading experts in the animal protection movement, the conference also provided ample sanctuary time for guests to visit the hundreds of rescued animals who call Farm Sanctuary home. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to camp under the stars on our beautiful sanctuary grounds (surrounded by rolling hills, preserved forests, and happy animals!) and connect with fellow compassionate guests during delicious catered meals, a cocktail hour, and an evening dance.
Gene Baur is co‑founder and president of Farm Sanctuary and has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. He was a pioneer in undercover investigations and instrumental in passing the first U.S. laws to ban inhumane factory farming practices. Beginning in 1986, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of animal agriculture and our cheap food system. He has written two national bestselling books. Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008 and listed as one of Booklist‘s top 10 Sci-Tech books, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day was published by Rodale in 2015 and named the VegNews book of the year. Gene has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and is a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He’s been vegan since 1985 and recently started competing in marathons and triathlons, including an Ironman, to demonstrate the benefits of plant-based eating.
Susie Coston joined the Farm Sanctuary staff in 2000, after spending six years working with a veterinarian and at a sanctuary in West Virginia. With more than two decades of experience working with farm animals, she is a leading authority on both their care and behavior, and she calls on both her expertise and her deep connections with these animals (she’s often referred to as “the farm animal whisperer”) to advocate for compassion for farm animals everywhere. As National Shelter Director, she oversees a team of caregivers who provide individualized care to hundreds of rescued farm animals across Farm Sanctuary’s shelter locations; she also acts as a mentor to many peers who have started their own sanctuaries and leads Farm Sanctuary’s annual Farm Animal Care Conference. She can often be found sharing the stories of her rescued farm animal friends both at speaking engagements and online.
In October of 2002, Larry Baldwin became the Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, located in New Bern, NC. He held that position until November 2011. During that time, the issue of CAFO pollution was very evident in the Neuse River watershed, as well as other water bodies in eastern North Carolina. As a result of the realization of the CAFO pollution, he became associated with several environmental justice organizations in eastern North Carolina. He began working with the organizations and communities they serve to stop the negative impacts that the pork and poultry industries continue to have on the water, air, and families who live in the vicinity of these operations. Larry was featured in Farm Sanctuary's Meet Your Neighbors campaign.
Rick Dove has been a part of the Waterkeeper movement since 1993. He was one of the founding members of the Waterkeeper Alliance and served on its first board of directors. As the Neuse Riverkeeper, Rick pioneered the use of aircraft in documenting sources of pollution. During the 1990s, his advocacy on behalf of the Neuse River pertaining to its horrific fish kills and human health impacts resulting from the deadly vampire organism Pfiesteria gained worldwide attention. Major reforms in pollution practices throughout the Neuse watershed resulted. As a photojournalist, his photographs and videos have appeared in countless media reports and documentaries throughout the world, including the recent movie Eating Animals. He has also been featured in a number of important books, including Animal Factory, And the Waters Turned to Blood, This Moment on Earth, Crimes Against Nature, and Righteous Pork Chop.
Becca Franks received her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, completed a Killiam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the Animal Welfare Program at The University of British Columbia, and recently joined the Environmental Studies Department at New York University as research scientist and visiting professor. Throughout her career, Becca has been interested in fundamental patterns of well-being, in particular the evidence that, regardless of species, well-being appears to be inextricably linked to learning, exploration, and discovery. She has published extensively on the welfare of a range of species, including walruses, chimpanzees, salmon, rats, cows, humans, mice, and zebrafish.
Barbara J. King
Barbara J. King is emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and now is a full-time freelance science writer and speaker. Barbara’s primary focus is how the science of animal thinking and feeling can be used to help wild and captive animals, including farm animals. Barbara’s newest book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. Her How Animals Grieve, from 2013, has been translated or is being translated into Japanese, Portuguese, French (winning a book prize), Hebrew, Turkish, and Polish. She contributes each week to National Public Radio's 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog, writes regularly about books for The Times Literary Supplement, and is a frequent guest on media shows that have included Diane Rehm radio and National Geographic TV. Barbara is active for animals on Twitter @bjkingape. Photo by Stephen Salpukas/William & Mary
Tracye McQuirter, MPH, was named a national food hero changing the way America eats for the better by Vegetarian Times. She's the author of the new book Ageless Vegan, with her mother, Mary McQuirter, and the national best-seller By Any Greens Necessary, which established her as one of the most influential vegans in the country. She directed the nation’s first federally funded vegan nutrition program and was a nutrition advisor for the Black Women’s Health Imperative. Tracye recently created the free African American Vegan Starter Guide in partnership with Farm Sanctuary and previously co-created one of the earliest vegan websites 20 years ago. Tracye's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Bon Appetit, Ebony, VegNews, The Huffington Post, and many more. Tracye is a graduate of Sidwell Friends School, Amherst College, and New York University, where she received a master's degree in public health nutrition.
Leilani Münter is a biology graduate, race car driver, and environmental activist. Discovery's Planet Green named her the #1 eco athlete in the world, ELLE Magazine awarded her their Genius Award, and Sports Illustrated named her one of the top ten female race car drivers in the world. In 53 starts, Leilani has scored nine top-five finishes and 20 top-ten finishes. Since 2007, Leilani has been adopting an acre of rainforest for every race she runs. She uses her race car to spread environmental awareness among millions of race fans in the U.S. Leilani sits on the board of Empowered by Light, EarthX Film, and the Oceanic Preservation Society, the Academy Award-winning filmmakers behind “The Cove.” She is featured in their 2015 documentary Racing Extinction. Leilani is vegan, and her personal car is an electric Tesla Model S which she charges with solar power. Leilani’s motto is: Never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car.
Haile Thomas is 17 years old, an international speaker, health activist, vegan food and lifestyle influencer, the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in the U.S., and the founder/CEO of the nonprofit HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth). Haile founded HAPPY when she was 12 to address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and culinary education in underserved/at-risk communities, as well as in schools and through annual summer camps. Haile has personally engaged more than 15,000 kids and thousands of adults around the world since beginning her activism in 2010. She was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes without the use of medication, through only healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were also increasingly being diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. All of Haile’s programs, projects, and initiatives are geared toward engaging, educating, motivating, and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices to live their best lives.