I’m not a huge reader, though I used to be; grad school kind of took the joy of reading out of me for a while, but I have slowly been getting back into reading for pleasure. I’ve read a couple of things in my Kindle App (I recommend reading “Skinny Bitch” if you are curious in a veggie lifestyle…super fun read), but “The Lucky Ones” was the first actual book that I’ve picked up in a long time.
“The Lucky Ones” is written by Jenny Brown, founder of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York – only a short drive from where I grew up in Saugerties. I visited the sanctuary last summer and it was one of the most memorable experiences that I’ve ever had. Our tour guide, Mike (who I keep in contact with to this day) led my mother and I around the farm, introducing the animals and telling each of their stories, along with the horrors that their not-so-lucky brothers and sisters still face. It was one of the happiest and saddest experiences I’ve ever had…very emotionally conflicting. I loved being with the sweet animals, and they sure LOVED the attention they got! But knowing that there were still so many like them that were not basking in the sun and receiving belly rubs brought up a lot of anger and ill feelings towards those that continue to perpetuate those horrible factory farming practices. The trip really cemented my choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
“It can feel overwhelming to work against such ingrained tradition and powerful interests, but I’m fighting for the day when people ultimately realize en masse that animals are here with us, not for us.” ~Jenny Brown, “The Lucky Ones”
WFAS strives to bring out those same emotions in everyone that visits through telling the sad stories of the animals that live out their lives in confinement and filth, along with the stories of “the lucky ones” that were rescued. Jenny Brown tells the story of how WFAS came into existence, beginning with her own childhood struggles and the friendship that she formed with her house cat, Boogie. Jenny wound up with a pretty lucrative film career, but experiences throughout her adult life led her away from a TV monitor and to the great outdoors at Farm Sanctuary, where she trained to become a sanctuary owner. The book alternates between bits and pieces of Jenny’s life, along with the formation of the sanctuary and stories of some of the most influential animals that graced the fields of Woodstock, NY…including Dylan, pictured above. Many of the animals still live their lives on the farm, and have amazing personalities!
I could barely put “The Lucky Ones” down…you don’t realize you are learning so much about the factory farming industry because Jenny Brown has such a wonderfully warm style of writing. It’s almost as if you know each other and you are just sitting down to have a cup of coffee and chat…so familiar and easy going. I found myself chuckling to myself and I definitely shed a tear or two as well. I will be bringing this book with me on my trip up to NY next weekend – I’m going to try to visit the sanctuary again (the plan was to volunteer, but my lack of a functioning knee is really holding me back), but I also want my mom to read the book. Sometimes, throwing horrifying facts and pictures someone’s way makes them shut down when it comes to the aspect of cutting out animal products. I’m hoping that reading “The Lucky Ones” might have the same profound effect on my mom as it did on me.
I cannot recommend reading this book enough. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of “The Lucky Ones.” You won’t regret it!
“I’m looking forward to a day when I have to shut our doors because there are no farm animals to rescue, when animal cruelty is an embarrassment of the past, when our society looks upon the mistreatment of animals the way it looks on the mistreatment of women or children or people with disabilities.” ~Jenny Brown, “The Lucky Ones”