Why Vegan

Fox show host Tucker Carlson takes on Vegan Activist

Gene Baur has respectful and mutually appreciate conversation with the conservative commentator

Tucker Carslon, the conservative Fox News anchorman, took on Gene Baur on a special edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight on 4th September. 

Following on from a episode concentrating on the pros and cons of eating horse meat, Tucker broadened the theme out to cover the rights and wrongs of eating meat at all and to address the question of “why go vegan“. The presenter with the stone face and enigmatic smile took on Gene Baur, author of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.

Carlson is a self-confessed lover of animals who loves burrata, a cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream (sometimes made from buffalo). He loves that cheese and will not ever stop eating it. Period. He is not forcing his food preferences on anybody so why can a vegan activist do so?

Making people recognise their food choices in an informed way

Baur denied that he is telling anybody what they must and must not eat. Rather he wants people to recognise their choices so that we can make them in an informed manner.

Carlson questioned the “super high level of fussiness” of some vegans before going on to make the stereotype that so many vegans “look easy to push over”.

He was firmly told that vegans are passionate but not all are skinny. Baur politely informed his host that the only US weight lifter who qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is a vegan as are many bodybuilders and athletes. He also pointed out that Scott Jurek, the legendary ultra runner, is also a vegan. “So vegans can be very healthy as well.”

“Interesting,” said Carlson, and of course this is very interesting to the uninformed. “You make a very compelling case”.

He asked the mild-mannered so-called vegan activist about the fussiness point. Carlson reckons that vegans spend 70% of their day thinking about food.

“Well I don’t” replied Baur, and often you just won’t know that the person who is talking to is vegan. For him, it is simply an ethos of not causing unnecessary suffering. “If we can live well without causing pain to animals then why wouldn’t we?”

Agreement on the need not to cause unecessary suffering

Unsurprisingly the answer was: “I agree with you”. But the fact is that most people won’t give up meat why don’t you push the companies who cause animals necessary suffering to stop these practices?

Baur replied that of course activists do just that. There are campaigns relating to factory farms and legislative efforts to give animals more space. He then he politely repeated that we should recognise we can “live well eating plants instead of animals”.

Why does the production of dairy cause harm?

The host then questioned why his love of cheese causes harm. This exchange is a great example of the lack of knowledge in so many about the realities of the dairy industry. Baur simply said that for a cow to lactate milk the cow needs to have a baby. That baby is taken away at birth. If it is a boy then he is deemed to be useless and his sole purpose then is simply to make veal. Furthermore, when they are no longer profitable they are sent to slaughter at about three or four years old.

Carlson did not accept that it is an abuse to milk a cow. He then made a point of emphasis. China has an entire festival dedicated to murdering dogs, a fact he believed is that could just about justify sanctions on the country, so cruel is that behaviour.

Baur pointed out that a Chinese company now owns Smithfield Foods, the huge pork industry conglomerate. So kindness is important across the world as well as at home. 

Dominion over animals?

Opening up a wider point the host acknowledged the point that we should not be cruel to animals. We’ve been trained to defend Tyson Foods but we should not necessarily do so. It was important he felt to acknowledge this as a conservative. But that is entirely different from saying that we have no moral right to eat animals. Surely the point was, he said, that we have dominion over animals. If you were starving on a mountain, would you kill your goat companion to survive?

Baur firmly said that we don’t need to do so in normal circumstances, and acknowledged our desire and need to survive. As for dominion, we do have power over animals and with that power comes great responsibility. We can kill animals but whether we should is another matter.

The host respected Baur, and having begun the section thinking “this guy’s probably crazy” he saw him as “reasonable and thoughtful”.

Baur by return appreciated Carlson’s obvious concern for animals and his open-mindedness to these issues and a clear belief that we humans should not mistreat animals.

Eating in harmony with your values

Baur is the author of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, a vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle guide to “eating mindfully, living longer and feeling better every day”.

The book explores the ‘deeply transformative experience of visiting the sanctuary and its profound effects on people’s lives”. It also covers the basic tenets of Farm Sanctuary life – and how to eating in harmony with your values, reminders to connect with nature regularly, and stress reduction. The book is full of advice on how to improve the lives of humans and animals alike. 

Baur is also the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization. He maintains that the key to happiness lies in aligning your beliefs with your actions.

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Nicholas Orosz

Nicholas is a former City solicitor and Cambridge graduate. He has a long-standing interest in health & nutrition, the environmental movement, green politics & digital publishing. He has always loved crafting words. His transition to a vegan perspective has been gradual and an ongoing process of self-discovery. Contact: nicholas@vegansbethechange.com
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