Read The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals by Jenny Brown Gretchen Primack Online


Temple Grandin meets Michael Pollan in a poignant, provocative memoir of survival, compassion, and awakening to the reality of our food system.Jenny Brown was just ten years old when she lost a leg to bone cancer. Throughout the ordeal, her constant companion was a cat named Boogie. Years later, she wouldmake the connection between her feline friend and the farm animals shTemple Grandin meets Michael Pollan in a poignant, provocative memoir of survival, compassion, and awakening to the reality of our food system.Jenny Brown was just ten years old when she lost a leg to bone cancer. Throughout the ordeal, her constant companion was a cat named Boogie. Years later, she wouldmake the connection between her feline friend and the farm animals she ate, acknowledging that most of America’s domesticated animals live on industrialized farms, and are viewed as mere production units. Raised in a conservative Southern Baptist family in Kentucky, Brown had been taught to avoid asking questions. But she found her calling and the courage to speak out. She left a flourishing career as a film and television producer after going undercover and exposing horrific animal abuse in Texas stockyards.Bringing to life this exhilarating transformation, The Lucky Ones introduces readers to Brown’s crowning achievement, the renowned Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary she established with her husband in 2004. With a cast of unforgettable survivors, including a fugitive slaughterhouse calf named Herbie; Albie, the three-legged goat; and Quincy, an Easter duckling found abandoned in New York City, The Lucky Ones reveals shocking statistics about the prevalence of animal abuse throughout America’s agribusinesses. Blending wry humor with unflinching honesty, Brown brings a compelling new voice to the healthy-living movement—and to the vulnerable, voiceless creatures among us....

Title : The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781583334416
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals Reviews

  • Daria Zeoli
    2019-01-27 07:09

    Simply put, Jenny Brown is one of my heroes. I've been lucky enough to visit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary a few times and, on my first visit, took a tour that she led. We briefly spoke afterwards and I was heartened to hear of the changes other tour-goers made after visiting.This book is an interesting look at Jenny's journey from a meat-eating kid in Louisville to one of the best voices in the animal rights movement today. It also gives a glimpse into the lives of the animal residents of WFAS. I smiled as I read about animals I know - Dylan the steer, for example. I related to the fact that turkeys are so misunderstood until you meet them - there is truly no experience quite like meeting a beautiful turkey for the first time and petting his head. I shook my head in sad disbelief at the facts I already knew about the sheer numbers and utter horror that is the farmed animal industry.The Lucky Ones is an accessible, informative look at how important farm sanctuaries and their residents are to informing people about aspects of their food and product use they may never have thought of before. Read the book and, if you can, make a trip to Woodstock!

  • Susan
    2019-01-27 04:06

    This was a book-club selection, and while I tell myself and others that I like book club because I read books I wouldn't normally otherwise, I realized while reading this book that if I don't enjoy a book (even for book club) I often don't finish it. So finish 'The Lucky Ones' I would (and did)!I appreciated the author's story, and some of her viewpoints, but her vegan agenda was so strong and turn-off-ish at many points, that I felt she lost some ground in her arguments. For example, I own three very happy chickens, and eat almost all my eggs exclusively from them. But, Brown argues, because even small, local farms and granges purchase their chicks from larger organizations (whose practices are often unsavory) we should not support local farms and still cut out animal products entirely. I don't agree. People do what they can, and for me it ended up being spoiling a few chickens rotten. Even if I bred my chickens with a rooster or two, twenty generations down the road Brown would still not supposedly support people raising happy chickens because they were first bought from a factory farm. Brown also seemed to alternate between different thoughts. She writes that, when first dating her would-be second husband, Doug, she knew that getting on her soapbox would not be a way to win him over to her ways of thinking/living. And then, at the end of the book, it's as if she completely forgot her earlier sentiments and she wrote an entire chapter (aptly) entitled 'Soapbox Feet'! This book seemed to be a case of 'it's not what you say, it's the way you say it.' Brown certainly made some good points about factory farming, and shed a lot of light on a rather depressing industry. But she was so busy soap-boxing that I feel she will lose a lot of potential 'converts.' I assume that most people who 5-stared this book are already vegans or vegetarians, and already agree with or know Jenny Brown. Still, an interesting read, but didn't really work for me as a soap-box/personal-life-story narrative.

  • Jaime
    2019-02-13 03:01

    Everyone should read this book! What an inspiring, incredible love story. Jenny Brown's humor and passion comes through on every page as she so clearly explains why a love of justice and freedom extends to the animals that share our planet. Vegans are a growing segment of the population, and this book makes clear why that is. Jenny's natural curiosity led her to a successful career in documentary filmmaking, which in turn led her to discover the atrocious truth behind the standard American diet. Her story is highly personal, yet totally inspiring. If people think vegans are somehow deprived or missing out, this book shows that making peace rather than war with the animal world leads to inner peace and membership in a community of incredible, compassionate people! Read this book and visit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, and learn what heaven on earth feels like!

  • Peacegal
    2019-02-04 02:04

    Although not as technically proficient in writing style as other recently-published animal advocates Gene Baur and Wayne Pacelle, The Lucky Ones by Jenny Brown may reach a wider audience with its conversational style and mix of memoir, humor, and education. Diagnosed with childhood bone cancer, Brown suffered a leg amputation at age ten. This early trauma and the resilience required to cope with it meant that Brown grew to be highly empathetic with other helpless beings. When Brown adopts a weak, runty kitten, she begins upon a journey that would end with her heading one of America’s best known farm animal sanctuaries. Like most of us, Brown’s first connection with the animal world was through a pet. It seems that this is the audience she is primarily talking to with this book—those legions of self-proclaimed animal lovers who see no irony in stroking their dog’s head with one hand while holding a BLT in the other. Brown presents us with information that the animals we eat aren’t so much different from the animals we love:Animals are here with us, not for us—that’s my motto. … Andy the steer, who also escaped his fate as veal chops, trots over when he’s called, just like a dog. And Ophelia the hen, whose wings and thighs would have ended up on a plate, just wants to crawl into your lap to snuggle and mooch your warmth—just like a cat. So, essentially, she’s not trying to convince us that animals are important; she’s making the case for those who already think that some animals are important to extend their circle of concern a bit wider. And unlike our fang-toothed carnivorous pets, we are not required to eat other animals to survive. It’s mainly comfort, inertia, and tradition which drive what Brown calls “the systemic, rampant, unnecessary cruelty to these very beings for the sake of Buffalo wings, cold cuts, and hot dogs.” And those really aren’t good reasons at all. Notes the author:Author Michael Pollan put it well: “There’s a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig—an animal easily as intelligent as a dog—that becomes the Christmas ham.”Although Pollan is a loud n’ proud omnivore, his observation about the nature of our relationship with animals is spot on. Brown elaborates: Pigs are more intelligent than dogs—and, in fact, most three-year-old children. I’m sure even the many people have studied pig intelligence have been surprised by their findings … [I]t’s trendy these days for hipsters to wear clothes that say things like “I Love Bacon” or “Bacon Makes Everything Better!” It makes me sad how far removed people are from the reality that bacon came from a sentient animal who lived a life of deprivation, pain, frustration, and fear, all for a food that we have no nutritional need for. I couldn’t agree more. Every time I hear or see odes to our current national obsession with bacon, I think things along the lines of—Ripping the testicles out of a conscious, screaming piglet? Imprisoning a mother sow in a cage so small she can’t turn around? How is that cool, funny, or appealing? If similar mutilations and practices were imposed on cats and dogs, there would be public outrage. But the majority of people don’t realize it’s happening to the animals that land on their plates, or stop to think what animals go through before they’re eaten. A turkey, like any other creature with a nervous system, experiences pain, which is, after all, a survival mechanism.And that’s the truth. While farm animals continue to suffer ever more shocking deprivations in unfathomable numbers, our love of pets has reached such absurd levels that it’s not unusual to find social media campaigns on behalf of individual dogs who have actually killed innocent people. True, our information-saturated age has many of us more aware of farm animal issues, even if most of us aren’t yet willing to lesson our impact. We have a natural affinity for and desire to protect babies, so it is very common for omnivores to proclaim that they won’t eat veal or lamb. Yet, nearly all of such people have no problem eating chickens, who are often even younger than veal calves and lambs when they face the knife:[Broiler chickens] are so immature when killed, the females haven’t even begun to lay eggs. … Unbelievably, “broilers” grow so quickly that they are slaughtered when they’re still babies, just over a month old. … Their birth to death is forty-five days. That’s how far we’ve gone, how severely we’ve manipulated their genes. While their bodies are morbidly obese, their heads are still covered with down and they’re still peeping when they’re loaded onto those slaughter-bound trucks. To eat commercially-produced chicken is to eat baby birds. The shrink-wrapped chickens fancifully named “Cornish game hens” are even younger still.Even so-called “happy meat” animals face quite unhappy manipulations, Brown asserts: It’s trendy for consumers to buy conservation breeds, but as natural as people might want the turkeys to be for health or conscience, the producers want the same extra pounds when it comes time to sell them by weight. Consumers don’t realize that these birds are still genetically manipulated for profit. There’s nothing really natural about it.Before staring her sanctuary, Brown also worked as an undercover investigator. She introduces us to the sounds, smells, and sights of major Texas stockyards as she sneaks in a hidden camera to document the atrocities. She notes a prominent sign at a stockyard that warns, NO PHOTOS OR VIDEO ALLOWED. Gee, I wonder why. As the flurry of “ag-gag” legislative proposals indicate, Big Livestock would much rather prevent consumers from seeing how farm animals are treated than clean up their act. In addition to the cruelty that arises simply from raising thousands of animals in crowded conditions, a hallmark of undercover videos of stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses is the pointless abuse of animals by some workers. Brown has some insight into this behavior:This fits the sometime pattern of the abused becoming the abuser. Some workers…tired of being the low man on one or more totem poles in their own lives, lash out at beings even “lower” than they are. Other workers take out their frustration at the misery of their work on creatures who can’t complain, retaliate, or get them in trouble … Other abusers are simply those with a penchant for violence who may be kept in check by other sectors of society but who have free reign in the hell of a slaughterhouse or farm.Explaining why she chose to start a sanctuary for farmed animals, Brown writes,Compared with the number of farm animals living and dying each day, dogs and cats are hardly a blip on the screen. Ditto lab, fur, and circus animals. Of course, I would never stop advocating on behalf of those populations, either, but I could hardly get my head around the fact that farm animals make up a staggering ninety-eight percent of domestic animals in this country.Brown envisioned a place where people could meet rescued farm animals and learn about them as well as their commercial abuse and exploitation. And as people poured in, that’s just what began to happen.At the end of the tour, the man turned to his children and said, “Guys, I’m ashamed.” He explained that he’d always assumed that turkeys were dumb and didn’t possess individuality or personality. He had thought of them only as cold cuts and the Thanksgiving meal centerpiece. But it was obvious after spending the afternoon with the birds, he said…”They’re smart and friendly---I never imagined.”Imagine the serendipity of a goat with a severely injured leg finding his way to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. When Albie the goat must have his leg amputated, Brown contacts her prosthetics maker to see if he can use some of the same technology that helped her to help Albie. The idea of a woman with a prosthetic leg caring for a goat with a prosthetic leg was just too much for the press to resist. The New York Times descended upon the little farm to run a feature. Before reading about Albie, most people had never seen animals like him as anything but “livestock.” Now they were revisiting their assumptions. They’d heard of paralyzed dogs being custom fitted with carts to help them get around, but that followed the usual course of dog-as-family-member thinking that much of our society subscribes to. But this story was something different. Are goats worth that much trouble? … Albie’s story turned him into an individual: he had a name, he was loved, he wouldn’t be used for anything, and he had been through an awful ordeal.Albie’s one-of-akind false leg was breaking new ground. Unlike companion animal medicine, Brown explains, farm animal medicine “is traditionally about keeping an animal’s heart beating just long enough for “it” to walk to an untimely slaughter.”Ultimately, the Woodstock sanctuary and the book are best embodied by the Albert Schweitzer quote “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” Of factory farming cruelty, Brown laments:I’ve always been puzzled that people otherwise willing to question norms and think for themselves—people who seem really caring or compassionate, who profess their love for animals—have a blind spot when it comes to their role in keeping animal industries wealthy and widespread. There are so many artists, educators, activists, freethinkers, and just plain good people who will question many mandates and customs and work to understand issues—and shut their ears to this particular one. I’ll conclude with these powerful words from the author: Whether we like it or not, today’s consumers are responsible for the worst systematic animal abuse in world history. We can point fingers at the Big Bad Corporations—and I do—but this system is sustained by consumer demand. If we don’t enable corporations to profit from suffering, they can’t. It’s incredibly empowering to take a stance that moves us all in that direction.

  • Martin Rowe
    2019-02-23 01:57

    I should acknowledge that I know and like Jenny Brown, have contributed money to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (WFAS), am thanked in the acknowledgments, and consider myself a vegan animal rights activist—so perhaps I may not be considered a disinterested critic. Jenny and co-author Gretchen Primack have done an excellent job in giving a face to, and providing information about, the horrors of factory farming, as they intersperse stories about the rescues at WFAS with Jenny's life story (including her losing half a leg to cancer at a young age and her undercover work for PETA and Farm Sanctuary). The voice is authentically Jenny's—by turns folksy, direct, witty, and unvarnished—and readers will get a real feeling for her commitment to the humane treatment of farmed animals. I would have liked a little more in the book on the challenges faced in raising money for a sanctuary and perhaps some acknowledgement of some of the tougher questions that surround opening and maintaining such sanctuaries: the ethical questions that arise when animals become sick and deformed because they were bred to die young; the funds that these animals consume; the challenges of zoning in Woodstock; more on changing attitudes in society and yet the resistance some people have to change (wanting to eat "happy meat" rather than go vegan). As it is, the book contains moments of great power and is a passionate and well-argued rallying cry for not eating animals.

  • Marsha
    2019-02-23 10:00

    Ms. Brown’s love for animals and her utter dedication to saving crippled, lost, injured, abandoned or broken creatures from factory farms and various other places shine through this novel as she outlines her long and arduous path from cancer-ridden pre-teen to outspoken advocate on the behalf of animals everywhere who are exploited for their skins, meat or milk.That having been stated, her clear horror and near-disdain for human meat eaters are hard to hide. She wonders, over and over again, how people can continue to condone eating meat and refuses to see any other side of the question or admit to any other viewpoint but her own. Apparently, it’s not enough that animals be well tended and die happy deaths; they must die unhindered by human hands or for human desires.But animals kill each other in the wild all the time and a lion doesn’t necessarily wait until a gazelle is dead before it starts chomping on it. Why are such heinous deaths permitted for the lion and not humans? If we found a way to kill animals quickly, cleanly and without pain, would she allow this compromise? It could be possible. Humans have found ways to kill each other without suffering (hence the invention of the gallows, guillotine, electric chair and lethal injection); surely the same could be done with animals.However, Ms. Brown’s stance won’t permit this. She and her fellow vegans don’t have a philosophy. They have an AGENDA and this is what I found extremely alarming. How far will such people go to force their ideology on others who don’t share their worldview? There is no tale of vegan-on-meat-eaters violence in her novel (no tales of fur-wearing old women being splashed with paint), but you get the feeling it’s not too far in the future.Ms. Brown comes off as being a grown-up version of Lisa Simpson (although Lisa’s vegetarianism wouldn’t win any points with Ms. Brown): shrill, loud, whiny, preachy, self righteous and rather boring.

  • Kimmay
    2019-01-28 10:09

    I have mixed feelings on this book. The story was itself kind of interesting, but the writing could have been smoother. I liked a lot of things in this book, but at times it was rather disjointed & at times came off preachy. BUT... it also made me want to try harder at totally eliminating dairy completely. I don't have much really, just on occasion, but it did make me think I can do better than I am doing. Most of the stuff I was already aware of, although I did enjoy the section on wool, & that made me think I could try harder in that respect as well. Not that i really buy much, and i can't think of anything I have bought in the past 10 years that had wool in it, but it made me think i need to read all lables to be sure before i make a purchase, (I usually do anyway but this made me want to do it 100%) which i will make sure i read each lable for sure EVERY time now. The passion of author gets 4 stars, the writing gets a 3 & the preachy stuff gets a 2. So I am just going to go with a 3. I enjoyed the story, don't get me wrong, what a journey, & i could see the progression of thought, easily. i would certainly think that this book might lead some people to investigate things further which is a good thing. I just didn't love the writing style, & i feel some of it could have been edited better. I am glad i read it, i just wouldn't read it again, if that makes sense.

  • Laura Zurowski
    2019-01-30 03:19

    Belonging to a quality book-club is great because it compels you to read things that you might not pick up otherwise. So was the case with Jenny Brown's The Lucky Ones. I think most people come to vegetarianism/vegan-ism for one of three reasons: a last ditch effort to save their health, because they love animals and can't imagine eating or doing harm to another creature, or in direct opposition to the horrific conditions imposed upon animals by corporate food factories. Jenny's book is a nice blend of the latter two. There's no doubt she's angry and disgusted by the ways animals are treated in our society but it's also very clear that she truly loves and appreciates each and every animal that finds refuge at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. By alternating stories on both sides of that coin with autobiographical vignettes of her own experiences from McDonald's eating teen to vegetarian to vegan, she provides a compelling narrative that was easy to read and hard to put down.

  • Sarah Walker
    2019-01-29 06:22

    This book earned only two stars because it was a little too preachy, guess the word "passionate" in the title should have tipped me off. I was looking forward to an interesting memoir and an uplifting story about animal rescue, which I fully support. But there was much more emphasis on choosing a vegan diet than I wanted to read about. I do believe that God gave humans dominion over animals in the beginning (Gen 1:26.) Another version of the Bible says "be responsible for." That's how I look at it. Humans should look out for animals. They were given to us by God to eat AND care for. I raise rabbits, and they absolutely have personalities. They feel pain, fear, happiness...that part I agree with. But I don't see a problem with eating rabbit meat.I hate to see animal abuse. For my part, I take care of the animals I own and rescue when I can.

  • Seanzalcoatl
    2019-01-30 03:26

    The Lucky Ones is a perfect book is you're still counting chips somewhere between Day One to twenty plus years of vegetarianism... It's worked wonders on me above and beyond the decades of pulled heart-strings of dozens of vegan and vegetarian friends and lovers. The genuine sincere love of Jenny Brown for our two, four and sometimes three-legged chums transcends simple anthropomorphism of the beast and shows the window into the soul of our shared beauty.This simple story of one woman and her personal journey from the middle-America of rural Kentucky to passionate citizen and advocate for animal rights - and sincere and earnest kindness compels you to consider vegetarianism... but to become a kinder and greater soul for our world.

  • Sheila Stafford
    2019-02-09 08:19

    An eye opening inspiring readFor anyone who feels a bond with animals, this book will help expand that feeling. As a follower of WFAS, it was very interesting to learn how it all came to be. Jenny Brown's journey from a person who loved animals to a person dedicated to saving the most vulnerable in our meat loving culture will feel familiar to anyone who feels compelled to dedicate their lives to animals. Loved it!

  • Cindy Taylor
    2019-01-24 05:10

    Wonderful memoir. Well-written, humble, and honest...Jenny blends her personal history and journey toward veganism and the care of rescued farm animals with solid facts and information on the vast problems with animal agriculture, including institutionalized cruelty and damage to the environment. She helped me transition from more than 35 years of vegetarianism to giving my best effort toward veganism. She lives her values and that is inspiring.

  • Penny
    2019-02-02 10:16

    Read for Vegan Book Club-I heard Jenny Brown speak at Vegetarian Summerfest 2012 where she did a powerful job!This book is the story of her life interwoven with her film career and her passion for farm animals and about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary near NYC.One summer we visited Farm Sanctuary near Watkins Glen, NY and experienced their wonderful work there. I want to return.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-25 05:20

    A Five-Hankie Review(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher’s invitation.)“I often envision a giant protective bubble over our property, and inside it a place where everything is right in the world, the way we want it to be. Animals roam free, living happy and peaceful lives the way they should. They are free to be themselves, among friends and, in some cases, family. There is no fear of harm, no want for food or water, warmth or shelter. They have everything they need. They are loved, and treated with respect and compassion, until their dying moments in our arms, when they are wet from our tears. We coexist with them, never considering ourselves superior or their ‘owners.’ We don’t use them as commodities or exploit them in any way. They are our friends. Beloved friends. They owe us nothing. But what they do give, unconsciously, is the greatest asset to our work. They are ambassadors for all others like them, showing humans that other animals are not mere automatons.” (pp. 223-224)As a teenager slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace in Sunnydale – errr, serving burgers at a Louisville McDonald’s; sorry, I got my superheroes confused for a second there! – Jenny Brown never imagined that she’d one day devote her life to rescuing the very animals she enjoyed sandwiched between two slices of bread – let alone give up a promising career in film to do so. Along with her husband, film editor Doug Abel, Brown founded Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in 2004; their wedding ceremony served as the nonprofit’s inaugural fundraiser. Located just outside of Woodstock, New York, in the neighboring town of Willow, Woodstock FAS is home to over 200 rescued “farm” animals, including runaway cow Kayli, who literally escaped death in a New York City “live kill” market when she bolted for it through the city streets; the infamous goat Albie who, like his guardian, sports one “fake” leg; and Petunia, a “Thanksgiving” turkey purchased as a gag. They are the lucky ones – a precious few of the ten billion animals enslaved and slaughtered for meat, dairy, and eggs every year in the United States alone (not counting fishes and associated “bycatch”) who are fortunate enough to find sanctuary with human allies. A small-town Kentucky girl raised by a single mom, Jenny and her sister Loren were never what you’d call well-off. But things took a turn for the worse when, at the age of ten, Jenny developed bone cancer. Ultimately the disease would rob her of more than two years of her life - as well as her right leg, just below the knee. During months spent in social isolation, Jenny found herself yearning for a friend: and she found one in Boogie the cat. Though it required many years to take root and blossom, the tiny calico kitten (who – spoiler alert - lived to the ripe old age of eighteen!) planted in her heart the seeds of responsibility, compassion, and justice toward nonhuman animals, feline and porcine alike. (“Look what we made, Boogie.”)Her struggle with cancer also instilled in her a sense of kinship with other survivors: battery hens whose broken, mangled bodies bear witness the horrors of the egg industry; broiler chickens bred for such unnaturally fast growth that their legs can no longer support them; and of course dear Albie, who lost a leg due to a lingering infection, possibly from having his limbs bound during transport to one of NYC’s hundreds of “live-kill” animal markets. In his struggle to adapt to his prosthetic leg, Jenny saw flashes of her own childhood. Brown was introduced to animal rights her freshman year of college (University of Louisville); after discovering some pamphlets produced by PETA in the student union lobby, she swore off products tested on animals in short order; next came meat and, eventually, eggs, dairy, and other animal products. She volunteered her skills as a filmmaker to help the cause, at first videotaping protests organized by PETA and later graduating to undercover work for Farm Sanctuary. After a breakup, the death of dear Boogie (in a tearful passage with which I could all-too intimately relate, having lost my eldest two dog friends to kidney failure in May), and a successful yet unfulfilling career as a documentarian, Brown decided to dedicate her life full-time to animal rescue. Caring for abused and neglected animals gave Brown the immediate and satisfying sense that she was (is!) doing something, right in the here and now, to help animals. Direct action. Woodstock FAS is open to visitors on weekends from April 1st through October 31st. Brown jokes that the “price” of a sanctuary tour is an honest, open discussion of animal agriculture – including an introduction to veganism and animal liberation. As with her guided tours around the sanctuary, Brown doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the exploitation of nonhuman animals: equipped with both general statistics and individual stories, she denounces so-called local, family, “organic,” “free range” farms and giant industrial factory farms alike.Interwoven with Brown’s life story are profiles of and anecdotes about the many animals who call Woodstock FAS (and Farm Sanctuary, where Brown spent a year training) home: Judy and Patsy the pig sisters; the three wise men, Alphonso, Herschel, and Boone – turkeys, them all!; Dylan the would-be veal calf and his surrogate mom, Olivia the goat. “Everyone here has a story” – and Brown is more than happy to share them all. By putting faces to (oftentimes incomprehensible) numbers, it’s Brown’s hope that she can compel at least some visitors – and readers! – to empathize with the animals on their plates. Contrary to what the terminology would have you believe, for example, chicken(s) aren’t just one individuated mass of identical animals: each bird has her own personality, quirks, friends, and special preferences. Those cows who were ground into beef? They loved, grieved, played, and enjoyed life, much the same as you. Just because emotions are unrecognizable to us when expressed on turkey faces, doesn’t mean that birds are unfeeling masses of flesh. The result is a story that’s at turns heartbreaking and inspiring – although thankfully not as gruesome and graphic as, say, Karen Davis’s Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs or Gail Eisnitz’s classic Slaughterhouse. Especially disturbing is Brown’s account of the time she spent surreptitiously filming inside Texas stockyards. Here we see cows penned for hours in the hot summer sun without a drop of water to drink; injured animals left to suffer and die a slow, lingering death; animals who are too weak to walk to auction, so are dragged instead (“downers”). Working undercover, Brown was powerless to alleviate their suffering, let alone save them from their hellish fates; all she could do was bear witness to their suffering, in hopes of preventing future atrocities. Yet through it all, Brown manages to retain a playful – if delightfully foul – sense of humor. Upon finding that her severed leg was shipped, in pieces, to various corners of the U.S. for study, Brown expressed disappointment that she’d be unable to keep and display it in a Plexiglas case as hoped. (I wanted to do that with Lemmy’s testicles, but they were pulverized during the operation.) While lancing abscesses and popping puss-filled pimples might seem a downside of farmed animal care, Brown delights in the grosser tasks. A woman after my own heart!My only complaint lies with the appendix, in which Brown recommends resources for readers who’d like to learn more. Understandably directed at newbies, Brown falls into the all-too common trap of relying on some of the largest and most well-know animal rights and welfare organizations, including PETA. Though the group is inarguable a treasure trove of information – in its thirty year plus history, PETA has amassed a wealth of photos, documents, undercover footage, and the like – in recent years it’s best known for its racist, sexist, and sizeist campaigns. Likewise, the Skinny Bitch series engages in fat shaming and the promotion of the beauty/diet industrial complex to push readers (primarily women) towards veganism. Widely touted by many vegans – most likely because its Republican author is an unexpected and welcome ally on the right – Matthew Scully’s Dominion starts out with a bang, but ends with a whimper. Scully spends most of the book meticulously and depressingly chronicling the many abuses perpetrated on nonhumans, and then ends his treatise with a call for…more humane standards of animal use (!). An animal rights book, Dominion is not. Buy it for: your uncle who claims to love animals – but still eats them; that vegan friend who not-so-secretly fantasizes about opening her own animal sanctuary.

  • Jason
    2019-02-23 07:04

    2.5/5The Lucky Ones is a memoir of Jenny Brown, the owner of the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. A childhood cancer survivor, Brown ties her experiences growing up with an artificial leg with her eventual advocacy for the treatment of farm animals. The tie between the past and present is tenuous at best, which is a big blow. The book is really readable, but as it breezes by the cumulative work feels like a bunch of stories tossed together. Brown also makes a strong case for veganism; while I'm not a vegan, I often feel like my love for farm animals has brought me a step or two away from it. As much as Brown tries to shock with horror stories of the farm industry (and truly, the stories *are* horrific in many cases), her tone is so grating (or, in a few cases, self-congratulatory) that I just rolled my eyes so much they almost popped out of my head. But hey, there are some sweet recipes in the back.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-06 05:02

    Jenny Brown grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and her first animal love was a cat named Boogie that she got when she was going through cancer treatment at the age of 10. When she went to college she was exposed to the animal rights group PETA and it rocked her world. She immediately became vegetarian and started working to help PETA's cause. She was going to school for film-making so she used her skills to record footage for the organization. A few years later she discovered Farm Sanctuary, the first animal sanctuary for rescued factory farm animals, and eventually ended up working there and volunteering her film skills to learn how to run a farm animal sanctuary. She and her husband Dave were able to open Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in 2004. Since then she has continued to give a loving, safe home to rescued farm animals. Throughout the book Brown not only tells her story of how she came to create Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, but also the stories of many of her rescued animals and the abuse they suffered before being rescued by her organization. She also talks about factory farming in general and why it is so horrific for the animals. My only issue with this book is that she pushes a vegan lifestyle pretty hard. I am VERY much against factory farming and have read lots of books about the horrors of it for both the animals and people involved in that industry. After watching the documentary Food Inc. I stopped eating any factory-farmed meat and stopped eating at any fast food restaurants, but I do think meat animals can be humanely raised and killed in smaller farm settings. I visited the farm that I buy most of my meat from at my local farmer's market and I know those animals have a wonderful life. I very much agree that we need to open our eyes from where our food comes from, especially meat, but I also think that everyone becoming vegan is not the solution. Here are two quotes that I did really like from the book:"Albert Schweitzer was a theologian, philosopher, and Nobel Prize-winning vegetarian who urged us, 'Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.'" (p.59) Of course this could apply to other issues than just food/animals."Jonathan Safran Foer has written, 'One of the greatest opportunities to live our values - or betray them - lies in the food we put on our plates.'" (p.203) This reminds me of the Michael Pollan quote where he says we vote with our forks three times a day - which I firmly agree with!

  • Amanda
    2019-02-13 05:17

    Jenny Brown's story is a challenge to follow your dreams and keep pushing past the obstacles in your way. Her Kentucky childhood was rocked by a cancer diagnosis and the loss of her leg at 10 years old. A special bond with her cat, Boogie, helped her through the struggle and continued to support her throughout her college years as she discovered vegetarianism and became an animal activist. Despite a successful career in filmmaking, Brown was destined for more. Her first visit to Farm Sanctuary motivated her to leave filmmaking and open a sanctuary of her own - an incredibly challenging, scary and rewarding decision.My favorite part of the book is Brown's descriptions of the many animals who live at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, along with herself and her husband. Each animal has a distinct personality and a unique story behind its arrival at the sanctuary. Brown also doesn't let her readers forget that the animals at her sanctuary truly are "the lucky ones," and that much work still needs to be done to protect those who aren't so lucky.While the focus of the book is on her vegetarian lifestyle and animal activisim, Brown's voice is incredibly engaging and her story will resonate with anyone who has felt they were called to do something "more" with their life.

  • jt
    2019-02-16 04:01

    I read a ton of memoirs and I read a ton of books dealing with animal welfare, so this book is like the proverbial Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Much like Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals", I believe this book was written with the general public in mind rather than the already vegan looking for fresh horrors to reinforce his/her commitment, which is to its credit. Jenny Brown is never condescending or preachy, and she peppers the book with enough personal anecdotes and stories to keep it interesting (while still imparting important information about the current state of farming and livestock treatment). Her life story (what she shares of it) is interesting enough on its own, but this book is much more than that. It is also the life story of so many animals who can't share the horrors of what they endure in order to feed us. Despite the depressing subject matter (animal suffering, not Jenny's life story!), she manages to keep a positive tone throughout, which is probably an ability she needs in order to bear witness to the result of so much human cruelty. Highly recommended!

  • Jeffrey Cohan
    2019-01-28 10:25

    If you can’t get to a farm-animal sanctuary, the second best thing you can do – and it’s a close second – is read The Lucky Ones.In this autobiography, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Co-Founder Jenny Brown introduces you to many of the animals in her care, describing their unique personalities and colorful antics.She demonstrates exactly why farm sanctuaries are such an important, indispensable part of the vegan-advocacy movement. These sanctuaries remove the blinders that allow meat-eaters to ignore what, make that “who”, they are eating.Brown shows that these turkeys, goats, cows, chickens and pigs are generally every bit as affectionate and personable as our dogs and cats. Once you read this book, it will take you about two seconds of reflection to realize that it’s unconscionably hypocritical to love pets and eat meat.The book also traces Brown’s evolution from a justifiably embittered childhood-cancer victim and amputee to a passionate animal advocate. She shucked a successful career in filmmaking to build a farm-animal sanctuary in an inspiring leap of faith.Deservedly, The Lucky Ones was chosen as VegNews’ Book of the Year for 2012.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-13 05:56

    I felt as though The Lucky Ones was a well-written and engaging tale about Brown's own struggles and the struggles of the animals she has rescued at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The fact that one of the first animals she rescued needed a prosthetic leg brought the whole story full circle. Brown is no holds barred when it comes to the treatment of animals in this world and veganism. Being a fellow ethical vegan I fully understand her viewpoints and say more power to her for not sugar coating. I love that she does not shy away from the brutal details of life for these amazing beings, whether in this book or on her tours at Woodstock. I do think that some people who are unaware or unwilling to really change will have a difficult time absorbing the information and will therefore find Brown too harsh. I wish I could say that Brown was hyperbolic or wrong in her statements contained within the book, but unfortunately the reality of the situation for animals raised for human consumption detailed in this book are all too real.

  • Christina Cerillo
    2019-02-12 04:23

    As a farm animal sanctuary supporter who is already happily vegan, I found a lot of the book difficult to get through. It could be due to the past experiences I have personally had at a stockyard and the animal friends I made while volunteering with a sanctuary, but I felt like I was constantly dodging emotional curve balls hurled at my face. The reality of large-scale animal agriculture is disturbing to learn the truth about, and learn you will. It is a difficult, but important read, especially if you are still consuming animals, particularly those from factory farms. *On a positive note, I enjoyed learning about the beginning of the sanctuary and the author's relationship with her partner. I suppose I was looking more for a biography with sprinkles of tales about the animals that inhabit the farm and their harrowing histories.

  • Jillian Glantz
    2019-02-21 04:00

    Loved it! It's an easy read; entertaining yet very informative and touching. I wish the world was filled with people like Jenny Brown. She takes a very touchy subject and discusses it with great tact. I noticed a lot of other reviewers complained about how she included her vegan stance in the book, but what do you expect? Being a vegan is a very important part of her life and who she is, and it would be strange if she did not discuss it. And the fact that people are complaining about that, only proves her point even more. Plus, it's her book, she's free to tout the many benefits of vegan-ism. For myself, visiting her sanctuary is now on my to-do list. Thank you Jenny for everything that you do!

  • Margaret
    2019-02-23 04:00

    Overall this was a very good book, although in the beginning I thought the author took a bit of a harsh approach because everyone doesn't have the same view. That being said, it got much easier to read, was full of really good information regarding farmed animals and so much more. I really do admire her passion and am considering some vegan options myself. At this point I'm not sure I'll be totally vegan, any reduction in the amount of animal products I - or anyone else consume - is helpful not only to ease their pain and suffering, but also to ease the burden on our environment raising so many of them for consumption causes. I would definitely recommend this book.

  • Cayr
    2019-02-12 05:17

    Some readers have criticized ‘The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals’ for its “heavy-handed promotion of the vegan lifestyle", but those readers seem to have missed the entire point of Jenny Brown’s memoir. The primary reason Brown founded the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is to help animals that were once part of the commercial food industry.Jenny Brown writes about her conscious awakening of making the mental connection between the suffering of animals caught up in industrial agriculture to (read the rest of the review here)

  • Dianne
    2019-02-14 01:56

    An engaging memoir from one of the owners of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, who also took undercover footage at stockyards and factory farms all over the country, The Lucky Ones doesn't pull any punches when describing what she saw - but those horrible images of animal suffering are balanced by stories of the rescued animals at the sanctuary as well as the story of how Jenny found her way from mainstream documentary film making to the unconventional but rewarding life she leads now. Despite the gruesome parts (which won't come as any surprise to anyone who's taken a closer look at America's diseased food system), it's an uplifting and inspiring book that reminds us change is possible.

  • NcSark
    2019-02-21 06:13

    A great read and indeed a passionate fighter for farm animals. Jenny Brown tells how she came to connect with her cat companion at a young age and later how she came to realize that farm animals were no different to her cat: they deserve to be loved and cared for in the same way and certainly don't want to die in a slaughterhouse. From her stories of her own personal loss to doing undercover investigations documenting animal abuse to eventually co-founding an animal sanctuary in upstate New York, this is a book that can inspire and educate.

  • Carter
    2019-01-25 07:03

    I like Jenny Brown's passion for saving animals. I agree with her that factory farming animals for human consumption can be cruel, however pushing everyone to be vegan, just isn't realistic. I do believe that some smaller farms do humanely raise and slaughter animals, and that consumers need to be aware where their food comes from. Brown totally ignores this idea and insists that all meat operations are bad. The book was interesting to read, and will certainly make you think twice about the products you choose to buy.

  • Carrie Cook
    2019-01-29 06:21

    If only I could give this 3.5 stars?! Jenny Brown makes great points (though I was already in line with her thinking), and she provides good information on our nightmarish use of other species. Book not as brilliant as something by Peter Singer or Jonathan Safran Foer, but this should (hopefully) reach a wider audience. And the work she's doing with rescued farm animals is more than admirable -- I'm ready to start my own sanctuary!

  • Bobby
    2019-01-26 09:10

    There's a lot to cheer about in Jenny Brown's The Lucky Ones: the author's hard fought victory over cancer as a youngster, her education about the realities of farmed animals, and her determination to make the planet a better place by fighting for the animals, for starters. The Lucky Ones is written in an enjoyable, conversational style, is very straight forwardly honest, and inspiring. Recommended to anyone who considers themselves an animal lover!

  • Dee
    2019-02-03 07:05

    This is another book about "don't eat animals and take care of the ones you have." The sentiment is prevalent today, and you won't read anything new here. However, the story is touching because of Brown's history and the way she came to take care of the animals on her rescue farm. A quick read. This might turn someone into a vegetarian, but most meat eaters will probably not choose the book. ???never know.