Most of all, Baur is hopeful. He mentioned that the number of animals killed at factory farms has been going down in recent years - a sign, he says, that the consumer's demands are shifting. And the consumer, he says, is the key to changing the entire system.
Some recent consumer-driven victories suggest he's right. In 2002, after pressure from consumers and from Farm Sanctuary, Burger King announced it would offer veggie burgers on its menus nationwide. Several companies, including Kraft Foods, Panera Bread and Costco, and even states have banned or promised to phase out cruel gestation crates, a movement that grew from consumers' disgust at the mistreatment of breeding hogs. Most recently, egg-laying hen welfare standards are getting upgrades, with California passing a major law to give chickens more spacious cages.
"I think the consumer, ultimately, is where the decision resides," Baur said. "Consumers, unfortunately, tend to go along with what most others are doing. But now, there are more vegans in the world. As we rub off on others, more and more will join. Incremental steps are critical, and they're happening all over the place."
It's not just an uphill battle against factory farming, he added. In fact, by buying responsibly, every consumer is helping create a world that more closely reflects his or her own values.
"We vote with our dollars every day," Baur said. "If we are buying animal products, we are giving to animal abusers who then give that money to politicians. But if we give them to vegan businesses, that money will then increase the power of the vegan."
Baur's new book, "Living the Farm Sanctuary Life," includes information on mindful eating and plant-based diets, vegan recipes and humane lifestyle tips. See the trailer below: