Friday, April 10, 2015

Ⓥ Exposure

In the last few years, veganism has finally been starting to get some real recognition in the media. For a while now there has been a fair amount of coverage about various celebrities trying vegan diets but, for the most part, the discussion has been about the health benefits rather than animal rights issues, and it is presented more as a new diet fad than as a serious lifestyle choice. But it seems that is finally starting to change. It's still a rare occurrence, but animal rights activist have, on occasion, been making appearances in mainstream media.

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.

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