On August 12 and 13, Farm Sanctuary held our 2017 Hoe Down event at our New York Shelter in Watkins Glen, NY. If you were unable to attend this year’s Hoe Down (or if you were there and want to revisit the experience), you can relive some of the event’s most memorable moments in this video playlist featuring some of our inspiring speakers. (See photos from the weekend here.)
James Aspey has gone from beating leukemia as a teen to being one of Australia’s leading vegan activists. Initially going vegetarian for a 7-day experiment, James then learned about the health, ethical, and environmental issues surrounding animal consumption, and has been vegan ever since. Grabbing global attention in 2015 after breaking a 365-day vow of silence in a TV interview seen by millions, James has continued devoting himself to activism. In 2016 he was tattooed for 24 hours straight to raise money for three charities. He travels all around the world giving free speeches on animal rights and veganism. His speeches have gone viral and been viewed more than 6 million times. James also makes YouTube videos and encourages an educational, encouraging, and inspiring approach to activism.
Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary’s national shelter director, joined us in March 2000, following six years of working for a veterinarian and at a sanctuary in West Virginia. As a farm animal caregiver for more than 20 years, Susie has been a mentor to many of her peers — some of whom have started their own sanctuaries throughout the United States — and is known for bringing the animals’ stories of love, loss, and life to the public at speaking engagements and on the Animals of Farm Sanctuary project, which she founded in 2016. She ensures that the hundreds of farm animals sheltered at Farm Sanctuary each year receive the best possible care at every stage of their lives.
Dr. Melanie Joy is a psychologist, international speaker, consultant, trainer, and author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows and Strategic Action for Animals. Dr. Joy specializes in strategic vegan advocacy, effective communication, organizational dynamics and leadership, interpersonal relationships, and activist sustainability. Dr. Joy is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award — previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela — for her work on global nonviolence, as well as the Empty Cages Prize — previously given to Tom Regan — for her contribution to furthering the cause of animal rights. She is also the founder and president of Beyond Carnism.
Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, formerly on the faculty of Emory University. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic scholarship and on-the-ground animal advocacy efforts. Lori is senior scientist for The Someone Project, a collaborative effort between The Kimmela Center and Farm Sanctuary. The Someone Project aims to educate the public about the cognitive capacities of farm animals through peer-reviewed scientific papers and online white papers.
Gene Baur is Farm Sanctuary’s president and co-founder and has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. For 31 years, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses inflicted by industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system. Gene’s latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day (Rodale), delivers five tenets for maintaining and sharing a compassionate, vegan life. His previous best-seller, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Touchstone), was published March 2008 and recently re-released as an audiobook.
lauren Ornelas is Food Empowerment Project’s founder and serves as the group’s executive director. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for more than 30 years. She is the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization that Viva!UK asked her to start in 1999. While lauren was the director of Viva!USA, she investigated factory farms and ran consumer campaigns. In cooperation with activists across the country, she persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling all duck meat and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Pier 1 Imports, and others, and she helped halt the construction of an industrial dairy operation in California. lauren was also the spark that got the founder of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan. In addition, she served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years.