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University of Iowa News Release


April 17, 2009

Animal activist Gene Baur reads for 'Live from Prairie Lights' April 28

Animal activist Gene Baur will read from "Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food," his bestseller now out in paperback, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The free event will be streamed live on the University of Iowa Writing University Web site, and then available through the Writing University archive. The reading is one of several events at which Baur will appear during a four-day visit to eastern Iowa that will include documenting conditions at hog-confinement facilities.

Baur grew up in Hollywood, Calif., 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 the cheap food system. He lives in rural New York State and is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America's leading farm-animal protection organization. He has conducted hundreds of visits to farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses to document conditions.

"Farm Sanctuary" was named to Booklist's Top 10 Sci-Tech Books of 2008. Jane Goodall wrote, "Filled with hope, this book is written for all who strive for a more compassionate world. I highly recommend it."

Farm Sanctuary was involved in farm-animal rescue operations during last summer's floods in Iowa. Baur wrote on his blog: "Thousands of pigs were killed. Some died trapped in factory farm enclosures. Others, loosed from their confinement, had a fleeting chance to run and swim for their lives. A small group made their way onto a levy, but were shot and killed by officials worried that the pigs could damage the earthen structure.

"But once Farm Sanctuary and our partnering organizations procured an invitation from the state to intervene and coordinate one of the most ambitious and complex farm animal rescues in history, other surviving pigs that made it to dry land were left alone. Farm Sanctuary's emergency rescue team with representatives from other animal rescue groups scoured the area to find survivors, walking miles of levies and woodlands.

"This was a grueling rescue that lasted several weeks in hostile surroundings. Along with harsh environmental obstacles, the rescue team confronted a callous attitude toward farm animals and a disregard for the feelings of these sentient creatures. Thankfully, we were able to persuade local officials to let the rescue to go forward and to grant custody of the pigs to Farm Sanctuary."

Visit the farm's Web site at and Baur's MySpace presence at

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