Animal-rights activist Brown explains why she considers being a vegan to be a moral imperative.
In this debut memoir, written with the help of Primack (The Slow Creaking of the Planets, 2007), the author presents a reasoned if controversial case that it is not enough to expose the abuses committed in factory farms and large slaughterhouses, while continuing to eat eggs, drink milk or wear wool or leather clothing. She describes abusive practices used to sheer sheep on small farms—e.g., scraping off the animal's skin when its wool becomes infested. Noting that humans and animals should be operating on a level playing field—“Animals are here with us, not for us—that's my motto”—she describes the events in her life that led her to this radical conviction, beginning with years of recovery from bone cancer in her childhood that included partial amputation of her leg and culminating with the creation of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in 2004. One of the threads of her intriguing story is her fierce determination to lead an active life despite her disability. During her orientation at the University of Louisville, she first came into contact with animal-rights advocates from PETA and became involved in demonstrations protesting the use of animals to test the safety of medicines and cosmetics. She was arrested wearing a rabbit suit while picketing Gillette. The vignettes about the animals in her care are charming, but this is not a cozy story.
Much food for thought even for those who don't embrace Brown’s ideology.