Jenny Brown gave up her successful career in film and TV to dedicate her life to saving animals destined for the slaughterhouse. In 2004, she and her husband Doug opened the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which houses more than 200 animals on 23 bucolic acres in Willow. Working with writer Gretchen Primack, Brown has now published a book about her experiences.
But The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Avery Books/Penguin Group; $26) doesn’t just chronicle the experiences and “early midlife crisis” (Brown was only 32 at the time) that precipitated her decision to dedicate her life to saving animals. She also recounts how her desire to protect animals was rooted in her childhood relationship to her cat Boogie, who was given to her as a kitten at age 10, when Brown lost her leg to bone cancer. Brown, a dedicated vegan, writes about the challenges of growing up in Louisville as an amputee, and how she made the transition from working the counter at McDonald’s to a successful career in documentary film and television (it was while she was filming undercover that she discovered the horrific conditions endured by livestock animals) to owner of the farm animal shelter, which receives thousands of visitors annually.
She also tells the hair-raising stories of some of the animals in her care, including a cow who escaped from a slaughterhouse and an Easter duckling abandoned in a New York City park. And she includes plenty of alarming facts and figures concerning the sad fates of the billions of animals killed for food each year, as well as exposing the misleading practices meant to convince the public that some of these creatures are humanely raised.
You can purchase an autographed copy of the book and meet Brown by attending her book-signing at the Kleinert/James Art Center on August 26 at 5 p.m. The Kleinert is located in the center of Woodstock, and the signing will be hosted by the Golden Notebook bookstore. For more information on Brown’s animal shelter, visit http://woodstocksanctuary.org/2012/06/the-lucky-ones-2.