I read a hardback version of The Secret Life of Cows.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Originally published: 2003
Pages: 137 (hardback)
Blurb by the publisher:
Cows can love, play games, bond and form strong, life-long friendships. They can sulk, hold grudges, and they have preferences and can be vain. All these characteristics and more have been observed, documented, interpreted and retold by Rosamund Young based on her experiences looking after the family farm’s herd on Kite’s Nest Farm in Worcestershire, England. Here the cows, sheep, hens and pigs all roam free. There is no forced weaning, no separation of young from siblings or mother. They seek and are given help when they request it and supplement their own diets by browsing and nibbling leaves, shoots, flowers and herbs. Rosamund Young provides a fascinating insight into a secret world – secret because many modern farming practices leave no room for displays of natural behavior yet, ironically, a happy herd produces better quality beef and milk.
"A lighthearted and charming read, but I was expecting something completely different."
When I first heard about this book, I was utterly intrigued. And since I became vegan, I’ve gotten more and more interested in the psyche of animals. I went into this one expecting something completely different, and I can’t blame anyone but myself for that. I didn’t do proper research and I jumped in blindly. Sometimes that is a positive thing, this time though, it wasn’t a perfect match.
Where I was expecting more research and facts I got a cute story about farmed cows and their personalities.
There no denying that Rosamund Young has written a charming book about animals that she clearly loves, and I really do appreciate that in this one. That being said, I could not help but feel that this book wasn’t targeted as much to me as a vegan. She writes quite a lot about how the wellbeing of the cows makes for better meat and milk, and needless to say that doesn’t really resonate much with me say.
That being said, I still think that Young and her family’s way of running a farm is a million times better than factory farming, and I applaud them for making the choice to value these wonderful cows and making sure they all live a good life filled with love and comfort.
Some of the stories told in this book are very interesting, and I definitely do have a bit of a new look on the kind of personalities cows can have. And I found the way that she explained how they communicated with humans to be the most fascinating part of the book.
So overall I would say that it was a lighthearted and charming read, but I was expecting something completely different.
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