This week marked an important milestone for farm animals. Martha Stewart, America’s domestic icon and the woman who wrote the book on modern living, devoted an entire hour-long episode of “The Martha Stewart Show” (Hallmark Channel, 10 AM ET/9 AM C) to the pleasures and benefits of living a compassionate vegan lifestyle. I was honored to be a part of this groundbreaking show, along with my good friends and fellow vegans Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, who will serve as the Honorary Chair of Farm Sanctuary’ s 25th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles on September 24, and health and wellness guru Kathy Freston, author of the New York Times best-seller Veganist.
Millions of viewers watched as Biz showed Martha how to prepare one of his favorite vegan dishes — Seitan Bourguignon — and told her about how his life changed after visiting the New York Shelter of Farm Sanctuary and looking into the eyes of a cow. They listened as Kathy explained why our bodies are better able to process plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones. With humor, personal anecdotes and factual expertise, Biz and Kathy showed Martha — and the people watching at home across the U.S. — how fun and easy veganism can be.
For my part, viewers were introduced to Persia, the sheep who Martha adopted through our Adopt-A-Farm Animal Project back in February, and the life she’s enjoying at Farm Sanctuary. I talked about the horrific treatment of animals on factory farms and how eating plants instead of animals is the best way people can protect them from this abuse. I told Martha about my dear friend Opie, who I found as a calf dying of hypothermia at a stockyard with a temperature so low it wouldn’t even register on the thermometer. Viewers saw incredible “before” and “after” photos of Opie, who with proper care and support pulled through and grew up to weigh nearly 3,000 pounds and to enjoy a long, happy life at Farm Sanctuary.
When programs like “The Martha Stewart Show” devote valuable air-time to the plight of farm animals and the benefits of veganism, a powerful message is planted in the public consciousness demonstrating that these issues are important and worthy of our consideration. Stewart has built a media empire based on her uncanny ability to influence the tastes and opinions of consumers. When she speaks about the importance of showing compassion for farm animals, millions of people — many of whom may never have considered these issues before — listen. Some might decide to go vegan right on the spot while others may decide to “lean into” veganism — as Kathy so wisely puts it — by reducing the amount of animal products they consume. All of this is progress and means that less animals will suffer. Martha Stewart’s vegan show was a major event, as a mainstream audience was exposed to compassionate living ideas, and that’s a very good thing.