Bob Weir, Billie Eilish, Finneas and Joaquin Phoenix are among the artists and actors taking part in Farm Sanctuary’s 35th anniversary free livestream The Power of Sanctuary, airing today at 7 p.m. EST via the organization’s site.
Ellen Degeneres, Alec Baldwin, Rooney Mara, Kate Mara, Alicia Silverstone, Edie Falco and more will also appear during the livestream celebrating the country’s first farm animal sanctuary and advocacy organization.
“Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy,” the nonprofit organization says in its mission statement. “The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at Sanctuary locations in New York and California; fosters just and compassionate vegan living; and advocates for legal and policy reforms.”
As part of The Power of Sanctuary livestream, Weir will sit down with Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur to discuss veganism and how the Grateful Dead played a role in the creation of the nonprofit group.
“The Grateful Dead and the community around it helped inspire Farm Sanctuary and helped us to build an organization,” Baur tells Weir. “We’re going to Grateful Dead shows back in the 1980s, selling vegan hot dogs out of our Volkswagen van with information about factory farming. It was a very, open-minded crowd… I really did appreciate the messages of peace, love, togetherness, belonging, kindness, compassion that surrounded the Grateful Dead. It created this enormous positivity.”
“The old hippie ideal, ‘If it feels good, do it.’ If it feels right, is what I think people were really trying to get at,” Weir says. “If it feels right, do it. And kindness is enormously important, And it was real clear to us that kindness was going to be an important building block. We managed to make that abundantly clear to anyone who wanted to watch or listen to us.”
Weir, now a longtime vegetarian, later adds, “There was a time back when that Jerry [Garcia] and I both went vegetarian for a couple of years. And, after about three weeks of being vegetarian, a peace came over me and it’s subtle, but it’s there. Believe me, it’s there. I don’t miss meat at all. It’s possible to change your tastes, what you’re looking for in flavors in nutrition. And it’s working for me.”
Eilish, a vegan since the age of 12, recently leaned on her animal activism to force Oscar de la Renta to stop using fur in their products; in exchange, she wore the label’s dress to the Met Gala.