Last Word with Author and Animal Savior Tracey Stewart - Modern Farmer

Last Word with Author and Animal Savior Tracey Stewart

You've no doubt heard that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart decamped to the country. Turns out, his wife prompted the move.

tracey stewart and cow
Tracey Stewart, a former veterinary technician, is the author of Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better (Artisan).
Photography Heather Ainsworth / The New York Times

I’m happiest around animals. So are our children [ages 9 and 12]. We bought a 12-acre farm near our New Jersey home, which we’re turning into an animal sanctuary. We already have four pigs, two horses, and two dogs. We plan to develop educational programming that allows people to have an experience with the animals.

I’ve learned what I didn’t want to learn. Gene Baur’s first book [Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food] is the reason I became a vegetarian. To research my own book, I had to read things about animal cruelty that I would not have read otherwise. I’d protected myself from that stuff.

A year ago, I was living life very differently. I feel like I made decisions out of fear – fear of change, fear about leaving the city, fear about writing a book. But it’s through doing all that stuff that I feel really good about myself. Finally, at 48 years old. It took me a while, but I feel like I’m there.

Mom’s radical; Dad’s reasonable. That’s the joke in our family. I’m vegan now. Jon’s vegetarian. My son’s a meataholic. My daughter wants to be a vegetarian but asks for chicken nuggets every night. I’m trying not to become militant, but sometimes Jon will be like, “Oh no, are we going off the grid?”

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