BOOK REVIEW: Ninety-five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs

Ninety-five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs

Farmed animals are bred, transported, and slaughtered at such an astonishing rate that is difficult for any of us to grasp that each and every one is an individual. This book slows down that breakneck pace to introduce us to some of the animals who have escaped the system. We find that they are as much “personalities” as our pet dogs and cats, from the gentle steer who “mothers” every new animal at a sanctuary, to a cranky goose who is very picky about who he will allow into his territory. In learning of each of these animals, our minds of course turn to the billions who aren’t so lucky, those who end up on our plates.

The stories included represent a variety of animal sanctuaries and a variety of writers. (Some of the essays were previously published online.) The writer representing Peaceful Prairie sanctuary has a unique style that readers will probably either love or hate. The thesaurus is used quite a bit and engages in quite a bit of speculation about what the animals are thinking. My favorite Peaceful Prairie story, about Louise the chicken, does not appear here, most probably because it’s so depressing. But I found great meaning in its line about finding joy in experiences long after they have ended:

…that much is undeniable and unforgettable, and it is something she will know and keep, an experience that will inform her for the rest of her life, long after she leaves her empty nest. That experience…is now imprinted in Louise’s song along with every other life experience she’s had … And now there’s a sound for it that wasn’t there before. Now, there is a story.

Pick up this book and allow the animals’ story to be heard.

(Review originally appeared at


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Roberto Scarce
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 10:41:39

    Great post, you have pointed out some excellent details , I too think this s a very wonderful website.


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