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April 14, 2016
by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW

Jon Stewart and the Bull

April 14, 2016 16:42 by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW

On his program, The Daily Show, on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart put up with little or no “bull”. He gleefully punched holes in the comments of the pompous and hypocritical. He maintained an enthusiastic following for sixteen years.           

On April 1, 2016 (it was no April Fool’s joke) Jon changed his stance and went out of his way to save a bull named Frank.

Frank (the bull) was scheduled to be destroyed at a slaughterhouse in Queens, New York. He managed to escape while being loaded on to a truck at Archer Hall Live Poultry. He headed straight for for the green fields of nearby York College. Frank did no damage, no one was hurt. Frank simply sought a return to the familiarity of verdant pastures.           

Frank came by his name in remembrance of Frank Lee Morris, the inmate who successfully escaped from Alcatraz prison in June, 1962. Morris has not been heard from since.           

Frank the bull, a black and white Angus, was felled by tranquillizing darts and taken to Animal Care Centers of New York City.  Workers as the Center began organizing a fund-raising effort to save Frank, and then, along came Jon.           

Stewart’s wife, Tracey has long been an animal rights activist. She credits her rescue pitt bull, Enzo, with inspiring here to leave a toxic 7-year relationship and move from California to New York, where she met Jon on a blind date in 1996. They were married in 2000.           

Tracey has had a profound influence on Jon’s relationship to animals. In addition to two children, the couple currently have:  4 dogs, 4 pigs, 3 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs,1 parrot, 1 hamster, and 2 fish.           

When the story about Frank’s escapade hit the news, Jon headed for the Animal Care Centers of NYC, where he hand fed Frank some hay and chauffeured him to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Frank will not end up on someone’s dinner plate.           

Tracey Stewart is on the Board of the Farm Sanctuary. She and Jon have a 12 acre farm, called Bufflehead Farm, in Middletown, New Jersey. They are in the process of preparing the farm to be an outpost of the Farm Sanctuary.           

Tracey founded a cafe/play space in Tribeca (New York) in 2009 with quality food and music, primarily for moms and young children. The cafe was called Moomah.  The name came from what she had called her security blanket as a child. Her intention was to offer a place of safety and comfort. Now she has a web magazine called Moomah which is aimed at helping people connect to the world around them. For Tracey, concern for animals is a huge part of that world.           

It has been confirmed, through research, that animals are sentient — they feel joy and sadness and emotional pain. Knowing that, it makes sense that humans think about their relationship with non-human creatures. There is a mass of evidence that shows that children who abuse animals are likely to become violent, disconnected, dangerous adults (think Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Albert DeSalvo [the Boston Strangler]).           

Places like The Farm Sanctuary name all of their animals. In doing so, they emphasize that animals are individuals and “humanize” them by giving them independent names. It would be more difficult to be unkind to “Elsa” than to “pig".           

Both Jon and Tracey are advocates of “virtual” adoption. This is a way that people who can’t take in an animal themselves can advocate for a specific animal and help it to find an appropriate home.           

This process includes, going to a shelter and learning about the background of an animal of one’s choice. Put a card next to the cage that tells about favorite toys, foods, and describe the ideal home for this potential pet. Advertise through posters and social media. Get the word out. Many shelter animals have found homes through this exercise. The animals most in need of this assistance are mutts, pit bulls, black cats, and seniors.           

In saving Frank, the bull, Jon Stewart drew attention to the plight of non-human creatures. It has been noted that his action reminds us to treat the physical world around us with kindness and respect.           

The development of empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is often cited as a human’s most valuable resource.                       

In the words of Ghandi, “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral process can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated” 


Cornin, A. M. (2015, October 27). Tracey Stewart Reveals the One Thing She Told Jon That Made Him Change the Way He Eats. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

Darnaud, G. (2016, April 9). The Lessons from Jon Stewart Saving the Bull Who Went to College. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from global citizen. 

Domonoke, C. (2016, April 2). Jon Stewart and the Runaway Bull. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

Johnson, R. (2015, October 21). The Daily Life With Tracey Stewart. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

Kaufman, S. E. (2016, April 2). Jon Stewart Helps Rescue Runaway Bull from Slaughterhouse. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

McCarthy, E. (2016, April 2). Jon Stewart Just Saved a Runaway Bull in Queens: Here's the Backstory. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

Stewart, T. (2015, December). Tis the Season for Virtual Adoption. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from 

The Need For Humane Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

About the Author

Ruth Gordon Ruth Gordon, MA/MSW/LCSW

A practical approach to problems encountered in daily life. A confidential and comfortable atmosphere in which we will use humor to help you gain perspective on current concerns. Enhance your skills for creative problem solving.

Ruth Gordon has a clinical practice in Naples, FL

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