“I became a vegetarian out of concern for animals, and I was a vegetarian for a very long time before I realized that many people become vegetarians out of concern for their health," he says in a new interview with the Vegetarian Times. "I think they are absolutely right. I think it is the healthiest way to live.” He continued, “The answer to enjoying life is nutrition. I recommend that you become a vegetarian and exercise if you want to enjoy the golden years.”
Back when he was a young pup of 80, Barker expanded upon his healthy living mantra to the Floridian saying, "I think that age as a number is not nearly as important as health. You can be in poor health and be pretty miserable at 40 or 50. If you're in good health, you can enjoy things into your 80s. Beyond that, if there's a secret for health and energy, it lies in exercise and nutrition.
"I exercise regularly. I'm a vegetarian. I think there's a strong possibility, had I not become a vegetarian, I would not be working now. I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago, and I did it out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better."
As for why he became a leading animal rights activist, with millions in donations to groups like Sea Shepherd, PETA, and various higher-education programs, Barker says his passion developed more than three decades ago.
"I had always loved animals," he says. "I think there are millions of us that are just born with a love for animals from the first day they can remember. You don’t have to learn to love animals; you don’t have to have something special happen to make you love animals. It’s just like the way some people are right handed or left handed. I have sympathy for people who do not enjoy animals. They don’t know how much of life they are missing. I love the work that I do with animals more than anything else I do.”