Sheep at Farm Sanctuary
About Us


Sheep at Farm Sanctuary

President and Co-founder

Gene Baur

Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur with Meg cow

Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production.

A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations and farm animal rescue, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting the deplorable conditions. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals, and his rescue work inspired an international farm sanctuary movement.

Gene has also testified in courts and before local, state, and federal legislative bodies, advocating for better conditions for farm animals. He played a key role in the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and enacting the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming systems. His work has been covered by major media organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, NPR and the BBC. Gene has published two bestsellers, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Simon and Schuster, 2008) and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale, 2015), which he co-authored with Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone. Through his ongoing writing, activism, and speaking engagements, Gene continues working to expose the abuses of factory farming and to advocate for a just and sustainable plant based food system. Gene has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.

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Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur with Meg cow

Chief Executive Officer

Ellen O'Connell

CEO Ellen O'Connell with sheep at Farm Sanctuary

Since 1987, Ellen has led and consulted for nonprofit organizations globally in the development, poverty, energy access, climate change, and wildlife conservation sectors.

Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary, Ellen was the inaugural President & CEO for Ngaren, a project spearheaded by Richard E. Leakey to develop a full-scale science museum in Kenya’s Rift Valley, to teach the science of human evolution and life through the lens of climate change and adaptation. As an independent consultant to non-profits focused on conservation and sustainability, Ellen helped clients including Space for Giants, Maa Trust, Mara Elephant Project, IEE Smart Village, One Mara Partnership, Little Sun and more, enhance their philanthropic impact. Before launching her consulting practice, Ellen was the Executive Director of Tusk USA. In this role, she oversaw conservation projects in 20 African countries. In addition to protecting elephants and other megafauna at risk of extinction due to poaching, Tusk works to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and empower local communities to protect biodiversity.

From 1999 to 2014, Ellen served as Vice President at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian aid organization that works with refugees worldwide. This work led to meaningful impacts in over 45 countries and took her to warzones and conflict areas—from Afghanistan to East Timor to Sudan.

Ellen started her career at the National Urban League before spending ten years at Covenant House, overseeing a shelter for more than 10,000 homeless youth in New York City. At Covenant House she designed innovative education and vocational programs for youth, and pioneered a profit-making, media-acclaimed Greenwich Village gourmet restaurant, Ezekiel’s, which trained youth in culinary arts and placed graduates in full-time paid restaurant and culinary positions.

Ellen is a Strategic Advisor for the Terra Conservation Initiative and serves as a Board Member of Friends of Wildlife Justice Commission, and the US Advisory Board of Born Free.

Ellen holds a BA in English from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service, NYU, and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Ellen also completed coursework for a PhD in Anthropology at CUNY, focusing on post-genocide Rwanda, and holds an Executive Non-Profit Management certificate from Columbia University.

Ellen lives in New York City with her daughter Kate, partner Mat, and three dogs, Goose, Homer, and Mr. Peabody.

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Board of Directors

Nirva Kapasi Patel

Nirva Kapasi Patel


Farm Sanctuary Board Member Sandee Ting

Sandee Ting Simshauser

Vice Chair

Julianna Green

Juliana Green


Robert Procaccianti

Robert Procaccianti


Gene Baur speaking.

Booking Requests

Gene Baur speaking.

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Connie sheep at Farm Sanctuary

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