It may seem like an unlikely partnership, but in the race to protect animals from the abuses of factory farms, NASCAR driver Andy Lally and TRG driver Spencer Pumpelly took to the fields of Farm Sanctuary.
“We are excited to have Andy and Spencer’s support and hope their kindness to farm animals will inspire others to do what they can to help protect these terribly abused individuals,” Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur said, according to Farm Sanctuary's press release.
The racing champions are both vegan -- they do not consume meat, milk, cheese or eggs and do not wear any animal by-products, such as leather or wool.
“By this point in human evolution, we should be smart enough and kind enough to live without torturing other living beings just so we can enjoy lunch, especially when there are so many delicious plant-based options available,” Lally said.
This was Pumpelly's second visit to the Watkins Glen-based shelter and he said he was "honored to support Farm Sanctuary and the people who are devoted to defending others,” he said, according to the press release.
Many other athletes have spoken up for animal rights. According to PETA, basketball star Dennis Rodman was the first man and first sports star to pose for the organization's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" series. Regarding how animals are made into fur coats, Rodman said, "It's heart-wrenching to see what they go through."
Other athletes who have supported PETA initiatives include basketball player Candace Parker, football player Lance Briggs, mixed martial artist Mac Danzig, and basketball player Ron Artest.
One of Farm Sanctuary's most recent campaigns fights against cruel confinement of farm animals. This includes gestational crates. These are two-foot-wide metal enclosures used to keep sows bred to provide piglets to the pork industry, according to Farm Sanctuary.
In June, Mercy For Animals used undercover videos of pork industry animal abuse to pressure large grocery chains to stop buying from abusive farms. The agriculture industry has pushed to make undercover filming of farm animal abuse illegal.
Battery farms are also a focus for Farm Sanctuary. Their website states that more than 280 million egg-laying hens in the U.S. are confined to battery cages. The cages are 16 inches wide and are often packed with four hens, according to Farm Sanctuary.
Last month, Southbury Patch reported the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers entered a "landmark agreement" to improve the treatment of egg-producing hens.
Farm Sanctuary also targets veal crates. According to the organization, calves raised for veal are prohibited from any movement to produce pale-colored flesh and are raised to deliberately induce borderline anemia. According to The Humane Society, "Dairy farmers separate calves from their mothers within the first few days of birth and often sell them to veal producers who cram them into crates, tethered by their necks for nearly their entire five-month lives. Inside these enclosures, the calves can barely move."
Recently, a number of doctors have taken on the widespread use of antibiotics to treat livestock, which they say can make infections in humans harder to treat.
Farm Sanctuary's Gene Baur said in the press release regarding Lally and Pumpelly's efforts with animal rights, “These compassionate racing champions prove that nice guys finish first."