As soon as it arrived in the mail from the lovely Amazon, I stopped whatever food industry book I was reading and began reading Jenny Brown’s “The Lucky Ones.” I ended up reading this book in about 3 days, not including time spent crying. And yes, it made me cry.
Jenny Brown is one of my newest unsung heroes. You see, many of my new heroes are those that pave the way for others in this world, and these people do this without much hesitation. They do what needs to be done. The common folk would most likely not name Jenny Brown as a hero, and therefore she is unsung. But after reading this book and learning of her life’s work, she will remain firmly planted in my “I Want to be Like Them When I Grow Up” list.
This all started with Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary. So we can blame him for his awesomeness. He began Farm Sanctuary (http://www.farmsanctuary.org) many moons ago and he has based his life’s work on helping farm animals that come from factory farming, hoarding, and breeding situations. These animals are intelligent, gentle, kind, loving, and have a mommy just like we all do. The wonderful people at Farm Sanctuary make sure these farm animals never know anger, fear, hunger, or loneliness like they once did. Side note: did you know that 99% of all meat eaten comes from factory farming? If you don’t know what factory farming is, read about it at the Farm Sanctuary website. Better yet, watch “Earthlings.” Be warned, it will change your life forever.
Farm Sanctuary lead me to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary which lead to me to Jenny Brown, Woodstock’s co-founder. Her book is amazing and witty, full of love and life. I cried when I read about her losing her cat, because one day I will lose mine. The mere thought of my cat dying is enough to make me sob. I found my journey to veg-head to be similar to Jenny’s. I was not born vegan and neither was Jenny. It took many years, for the both of us, to find what best suited us. Her book is filled with amazing stories of what lead her down this path. She is a very talented person that had an amazing career, and she decided to choose a different path. There are many differences between Jenny and I (and it’s not just that she has a prosthetic leg), but there is one huge one that resonated with me while reading her book.
Jenny is brave, while I am not. My desire to work on a farm sanctuary has grown to epic proportions recently. I want to quit my job, take all of the money I have, and move to a farm sanctuary so that I can help these animals. I want to learn the ins and outs of running a farm. I want to wake up to roosters crowing. I want to learn all of the quirks of these animals and be chased for belly rubs. I want to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow because I am exhausted from feeding animals all day long. I want to be with like-minded people that are vegans and share recipes and share the load. I want to greet the newest animals and help clean the barns and understand the way animal sounds are amazing. I want to live this life.
But I am scared. Who the hell does that? I’m leaving my family and my freakishly adorable nephews to go feed farm animals? To go live somewhere else? Who would understand that? Who would support that decision? I am envious of Jenny because she did what her heart told her to do. And against all odds, she followed her heart to help animals. She created a safe place for them where their every need is forever met. She is an unsung hero of mine.
When I begin teaching in the fall of 2015, I’ve already decided that I want to intern at a farm sanctuary for the summer of 2016 (summers off for teachers ftw!). If I choose not to dedicate my entire life to farm animals, I can dedicate my summers to them.
Please check Woodstock and Jenny out: http://woodstocksanctuary.org/
What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals? – Jonathan Safran Foer