In this incredibly valuable work, Young provides a gentle yet compelling case for treating farm animals humanely. She demonstrates how these animals have more personality and intelligence than we have been led to believe, and describes how treating them well actually improves food production and quality. So why not give them a chance to live happy lives? Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"Within a day of receiving this book, I had consumed it... Absorbing, moving, and compulsively readable." —Lydia Davis
In this affectionate, heart-warming chronicle, Rosamund Young distills a lifetime of organic farming wisdom, describing the surprising personalities of her cows and other animals
At her famous Kite's Nest Farm in Worcestershire, England, the cows (as well as sheep, hens, and pigs) all roam free. They make their own choices about rearing, grazing, and housing. Left to be themselves, the cows exhibit temperaments and interests as diverse as our own. "Fat Hat" prefers men to women; "Chippy Minton" refuses to sleep with muddy legs and always reports to the barn for grooming before bed; "Jake" has a thing for sniffing the carbon monoxide fumes of the Land Rover exhaust pipe; and "Gemima" greets all humans with an angry shake of the head and is fiercely independent.
An organic farmer for decades, Young has an unaffected and homely voice. Her prose brims with genuine devotion to the wellbeing of animals. Most of us never apprehend the various inner lives animals possess, least of all those that we might eat. But Young has spent countless hours observing how these creatures love, play games, and form life-long friendships. She imparts hard-won wisdom about the both moral and real-world benefits of organic farming. (If preserving the dignity of animals isn't a good enough reason for you, consider how badly factory farming stunts the growth of animals, producing unhealthy and tasteless food.)
This gorgeously-illustrated book, which includes an original introduction by the legendary British playwright Alan Bennett, is the summation of a life's work, and a delightful and moving tribute to the deep richness of animal sentience.
“Young recounts tales of bovine love and loss to ‘rehumanise’ cattle in the era of money-driven factory farms. Her prose is curiously moving. I felt myself welling up a little at Young’s account of being ‘wrenched’ from a deep sleep on a cold February night by a moo of absolute determination. It was Araminta, a mother calling out for her sickly son. This touching book will have you looking at Friesians in the field – and even a nice bit of rib-eye steak – completely differently.” The Times (UK)
“A small classic. But while her book is gently humorous, it is not a spoof. Cows really are diverse characters with eventful inner lives… Drawing on decades of experience, Young has a serious message concerning non-intensive, compassionate farming.” Financial Times
“I loved Rosamund Young’s The Secret Life of Cows. It’s a plea for us to appreciate the complex inner lives of our inquisitive, loving, bovine friends, whom we arguably exploit more than any other creature on Earth — from what we wear on our feet, via our Sunday roast, to what we pour on our granola. It also makes the great point that we should not judge animal intelligence in relation to our own.” Matt Haig, bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How to Stop Time
“A lovely, thoughtful little book about the intelligence of cows.” James Rebanks, New York Times bestselling author of The Shepherd’s Life
“Within a day of receiving this book, I had consumed it. It is engrossing and informative, full of charming stories as it makes the case for regarding animals as differentiated individuals… An absorbing, moving, and compulsively readable addition to one’s shelf of enlightened animal literature.” Lydia Davis, winner of the Man Booker International Prize
“Reflecting on over 30 years as a cattle farmer in Worcestershire, England, Young muses on her herd members’ inner lives and shares best practices for keeping them happy and healthy…Contemplative and idyllic…Young’s assertion that ‘all animals are individuals’ is certainly supported by these entertaining and tender stories.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Kite’s Nest Farm is on the edge of The Cotswold escarpment. It is run by Rosamund Young, her brother Richard, and her partner Gareth. Nature is left to itself as much as possible and the animals receive exceptional kindness and consideration. Kite’s Nest Farm produces beef and lamb from 100% grass-fed animals which are butchered and sold in the farm shop.
Rosamund Young on PowellsBooks.Blog
Today the sun is shining and my cows are bored. They are roaming around trying to find congenial shade, and a few minutes ago, they arrived at the cattle grid nearest to our house and, as usual, several of them, believing that cattle grids are more of an initiative test than a barrier, tiptoed across...