This Fall, Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, and celebrity trainer and television personality Bob Harper (NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”) will kick off the 2010 Walk for Farm Animals, an annual event attracting thousands of compassionate citizens in cities and towns across the United States and Canada to celebrate and promote compassion for farm animals and raise money to support Farm Sanctuary’s lifesaving rescue, education and advocacy work.

This year’s addition of Harper as celebrity spokesperson, a first in the event’s nearly 25 year history, demonstrates increasing mainstream concern about the way animals raised for food are treated on modern factory farms.

“Getting and staying physically fit is a lot easier when you have a powerful motivation, and I can’t think of a better reason to get moving this fall than to raise vital funds and awareness for farm animals,” said Harper, who states that since he adopted a plant-based diet he has felt “more clear headed and strong” and that his genetically high cholesterol dropped more than 100 points. “When I think about the billions of sensitive, intelligent beings who are confined and mistreated on factory farms to produce foods linked with obesity, heart disease, cancer, and stroke — that is all the motivation I need to make healthier, more conscientious choices. I am honored to be the national spokesperson for Farm Sanctuary’s 2010 Walk for Farm Animals.”

Last year, in the midst of a depressed economy with nonprofit donations down across the board, a record-breaking 67 cities hosted Walks, prompting thousands of people to take to the streets to raise funds and spread a powerful message of hope for farm animals. In New York City alone, more than 700 people converged on Central Park, where CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell rallied the crowd with a rousing speech in support of the humane treatment of farm animals. This year, more than 60 cities have already signed up to host Walks, and organizers expect that number to rise as dedicated volunteers continue to step up in the coming weeks to organize local Walks in their city or town.

“Animals raised for food in the U.S. spend their entire lives in filth and darkness, kept in such severe confinement they cannot turn around, lie down or extend their limbs,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “No one likes cruelty and when people learn about the abusive conditions inside factory farms, they are appalled and a growing number are getting active to raise awareness about these intolerable cruelties and put an end to the unnecessary suffering. For nearly 25 years, Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals has provided a forum for people from all walks of life to spread a powerful message of compassion for farm animals in their own cities and hometowns. The exponential growth of the Walks is a very positive sign. This year, we are thrilled to have Bob Harper’s support as our national spokesperson for the 2010 Walk for Farm Animals. Bob is as passionate about animal protection as he is about health and fitness, and with his support, the biggest winners this year will be farm animals.”

To learn more about the 2010 Walk for Farm Animals, please visit walkforfarmanimals.org.

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