The Secret Life of Cows
"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.
This farmer's observations of her herd is a rediscovered gem. 'Delightful . . . it alters the way one looks at the world.' - Alan Bennett
Rosamund Young and her brother Richard run Kite's Nest Farm in the Cotswolds. They are widely acknowledged as the nation's first organic farmers: 'every farm should be like this. The animals have space and liberty' (The Observer). They produce beef and lamb from 100% grass-fed animals which are butchered and sold in the farm shop. When The Secret Life of Cows was first published by a small farming press in 2003, it received ecstatic reviews.