A true story about a conventional farmer who became vegan

Vegan Fest is the largest vegan fair in Austria, where I had the opportunity to present my vegan books for children. I enjoyed talking to many inspiring people from the vegan community and one of them was Mr. Hubert Gassner, whose story is fantastic. He is a former conventional animal farmer who has become vegan. I would like to share with you his incredible story that shows how real change is possible.

Mr. Hubert Gassner/Photo by RinderWahnSinn

Vegan for animals

Hubert has always been ‘organic’. His cows always enjoyed free-range farming, and they were allowed to feed on fresh pastures, grass, hay, and grass silage. Some even had names.

“I understood the madness,” Mr. Hubert said, referring not to that cow disease, but to the conditions that he saw at close range during animal transportation and slaughter. Farm slaughter was never an option for him; he wanted to distance himself from that horrible situation. Then one day, a letter fluttered into his house from a lady who had saved six pigs from a slaughterhouse and was looking for a farm for them to live on. And that’s how he got to know his friend Stefanie Buchinger.

Photo by RinderWahnSinn

Happy Pigs & Friends

One thing led to another, and within a few weeks, Hubert switched his diet from “a lot of meat” to “purely vegetable.” Hubert could finally allow himself to have a love for his animals, and thus change his world from madness to meaning.

Stefanie and Hubert have founded an animal sanctuary called ‘Happy Pigs & Friends‘, not only to secure the lives of these pigs but to also create a platform for people to serve so-called ‘farm animals’ as living beings with personalities and characters.

As of 2019, sixty-two cattle, six deer, and those six pigs now live on his farm. Hubert also rents 2-holiday apartments on the farm and sells organic produce. Stefanie also likes to help out on the farm in her free time.

Photo by RinderWahnSinn

The best vegan lard in the world

At Vegan Fest in Vienna, Mr. Huber offered me one of his products: vegan lard. It’s the most delicious plant-based spread I’ve ever tasted! It contains onions, coconut oil, rapeseed oil, oatmeal, soy sauce (with gluten), garlic, spices, and salt.

In gratitude, I gifted Hubert my book The Pig Who Made It Big, which is based on a true story that is, in some ways, similar to his own. In my story, a pig is portrayed as a very sociable, curious, and intelligent animal, and Mr. Hubert knows this is very true.

In industrial farming, animals live closed-up in unnatural conditions. To most people, they arrive only in the form of burgers and sausages. One reason why meat-eaters do not have empathy for cows and pigs is that they have no close contact with them. Going to the farms where these animals live freely is a great way for adults and children to experience this and connect with them.

Experience close contact with cows and pigs

At Hubert’s farm, it is possible to experience very emotional and close contact with cows and pigs. Hubert also rents two-holiday apartments. If you want to visit them (Eisengraben 10, Gföhl, Austria), first check the schedule on their website or contact them. You will experience feeding animals, petting them, and having a vegan picnic in the pastures. If you would like to contribute to this animal harmony, donations are always welcome.