Recently, Gene Baur, the founder of Farm Sanctuary, appeared on The Daily Show to talk about his new book Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. Personally, I was almost afraid to watch the interview because I kind of assumed that Jon Stewart would just turn the whole thing into a joke, and Gene wouldn't get a chance to really discuss the issues. Don't get me wrong, I love Jon Stewart, but that's just kind of how the show is set up, so that's what I expected. He didn't do that this time though. I mean he did make jokes, obviously, but he also really seemed to be listening to what Gene Baur had to say and gave him a chance to explain the issues. It was great! In fact, I think the most critical thing he said was that we needed a better therm than "meatless meat" which, I must admit, is a valid point; that term doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the quality of the food. He also made a few comments which, I thought, sounded very much like he was considering changing his diet.
I honestly think this interview has the potential to make a great impact. I think the Daily Show is the perfect outlet to get this message out to the proper audience. I've seen animal rights advocates on other news shows before, and I have rarely felt that they were particularly productive. The hosts seldom let the guests finish a sentence and, even when they did get a chance to say something important, I always wondered how many of those shows' viewers actually cared enough to listen. I suspect that The Daily Show's viewers are probably a bit more open to new ideas than the viewers of traditional news shows, and might be willing to give real consideration to what people like Gene Baur have to say. I sincerely hope that those involved in the animal right movement have more opportunities like this, in the future. If they do, we may finally start making some real headway toward a more compassionate world.