Rescuing Abused Farm Animals

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jenny Brown talks about why she left her career as a film and television producer after going undercover and exposing horrific animal abuse in Texas stockyards. Her memoir, The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals, tells how she co-founded the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.


Jenny Brown

Comments [102]

H Jones from New York

I'm sorry I made the earlier polemic/comment. But this interviewer is truly awful.

Sep. 16 2012 09:29 PM
H Jones

The interviewer is oddly overreacting to her guest. If you're eating animals you are not as moral as someone who doesn't in that respect. Sorry interviewer.

Sep. 16 2012 09:21 PM

There is no doubt that Americans eat too much meat. Humane treatment of farm animals is a worthy goal. As someone that already eats very little meat and shares many of the goals expressed, it seems obviously counterproductive to have people like Jenny Brown saying than veganism is the natural state of mankind and equate farms to concentration camps... This may appeal to the cult following on these boards but will not be a positive influence on the population as a whole, which will see you as a loon.

Also, a tip for another poster: If you use the word "carnist" to discuss the mainstream population of omnivornes, you self-identify as a zealot and lose credibility for whatever you say next.

Aug. 21 2012 06:36 AM
norman douglas from empire state

meat-eaters keep talking about lions and tigers and bears. but the meat factories raise herbivores. big, strong, healthy bulls and cows, hogs and sows, chickens and goats, these are all herbivores. big as they are, a bull does not kill to eat. okay, chickens eat bugs, and there are small insects that live on the grain that these critters eat and are consumed thereby. but factory animals are not predators. people who comment here by comparing people to lions and tigers and bears should acknowledge that 4-legged,or feathered, or scaly predators do not hunt for their meat at shop-rite. standing in line to pay for meat with paper or plastic before going home and tearing open plastic wrap is hardly on a par with predation. that said, it's not exactly gardening, either. however, in the event that we should be forced to fend for ourselves as food producers, i think most of us would depend more on the garden than on the hunt. on the rare occasions when a family might opt to eat meat, we would need to kill, skin and gut it ourselves, having overseen the rearing of the domesticated animal. meat hunted in the wild would also escape the ill-treatment of meat factories. the issue here is really one of stewardship. we are so removed from our food that we no longer know what separating the wheat from the chaff means, let alone how to do it...

Aug. 11 2012 07:38 AM
Christina Beymer from Florida


I am a vegan who has studied, of sorts, failed vegans and why they fail. There is no one-size fits all diet, religion, or anything else. When ideology, no matter how it's labeled, gets involved, people, no matter how "open-minded" they are, put on blinders. It happens to everyone.

Nevertheless, Jenny Brown's book is really excellent. I read it in two days and it's very touching.

She has no intestinal or genetic issues preventing her from eating plant food and absorbing the nutrients. Neither do I. I suspect many people can do it, but some cannot. Plus there are other issues regarding genetics and the need for cholesterol, the conversion of RAEs to active vitamin A, and many more factors.

Jack Norris is a vegan RD who encountered failed vegans before he became a registered dietician. He helps many stay vegan, but some cannot. Still, keeping the factory farm support to a min. is what you can do. Progress is good. Perfection is impossible.

Here's my interview with Rhys Southan at


Aug. 09 2012 06:48 PM
Lee from Brooklyn

Judging by the comments section and the criticism thrown to Julie Burnstein, veganism is a lot like a cult.

I thought the interviewer was great and just surprised by the unexpected vitriol against meat eaters that was to come from Jenny Brown's mouth.

I don't know if anyone here has ever had to raise chickens and deal with them. These are animals that I do not feel sorry about eating.

Aug. 09 2012 09:36 AM
Bea Elliott from The Sunshine State

What a great interview! I totally intend to read what sounds like an amazing book - The Lucky Ones indeed!

The meat/dairy/egg industries spends hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals. There's never been more compelling reasons or a better time to opt for a plant based diet.
Want to create a better world? Eat like you mean it - Go Vegan

Aug. 09 2012 01:30 AM

here's an experiment - if I say something supporting the host (Julie) and not the guest (Jenny) there will be a barrage of passionate support from the Jennies posted. Smells funny to me. Maybe it's a cult! Some vegans who think they are saving the world are like the religious zealots of yore, or as they say in England, "religious nutters." Remember when nutters burned women at the stake for being witches?

What has science given the American diet? Margarine? Monoculture? Round-up? Is anybody at all who commented qualified to judge a well designed study or even to look to examine the details of a study? Are you making important decisions based on research you don't really understand fully? Live long enough and you will see that "incontrovertible" is not an incontrovertible determination! Julie did her best with a religious nutter. Please invite Julie back, she's a pro - and please screen out the nutters who don't know how to behave.

Aug. 08 2012 08:47 PM
MaryNYC from New York City

That poor, misguided interviewer and her ignorance. Perhaps she doesn't know that a vegan diet is a "plant-based" diet, and that plant-based eating opens a world of delectable cuisine of which most carnists have never imagine. She obviously doesn't know that a 100-calorie size portion of broccoli has more protein than the equivalent serving of steak. Lobbyists make sure that most Americans don't know anything about nutrition. There is no medical condition that contraindicates a plant-based diet, although there are many people--including physicians--who make this claim, either out of ignorance or an unwillingness to evolve toward a "do no harm" worldview. Nothing is more unhealthy for human consumption that cow's milk, and the cruelty of the dairy industry is incomprehensible.

The interviewer, whose name I forget, really should do some authentic research about vitamins and minerals and their bioavailability in the foods we eat. The American Dietetic Association and its Canadian counterpart organization have jointly endorsed well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets as healthful and appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, and infancy.

I would go to the edge of the earth for Jenny Brown if she asked me to. However, that really isn't the point. Whether an individual finds her likable or not, or whether this was a "good" interview of not, is irrelevant because truth is not relative. The science, ethics, economics, and humanity of plant-based eating are incontrovertible--and they are not contingent on this interview.

I urge the interviewer and the listeners to study this issue and consider making some healthful changes in their eating, and to forget about "happy" or "humane" meat and eggs. They don't exist and it is important to exercise critical thinking in evaluating the claims of humane meat and eggs: consider the source.

America has a serious health problem that escalated to a public health crisis in recent decades, a timeframe that coincides eerily with the obscene post-war rise in factory farming and fast-food restaurants.

Please wake up--for the sake of the animals, the planet, your health and that of your children.

Also--read the book.

Aug. 08 2012 08:07 PM

This host was obnoxious and clearly not interested in hearing from the guest and learning something. How outrageous. Host was a completely ignorant. My last donation to this station.

Aug. 08 2012 07:49 PM

OMG! Know-it-all central! Rabid philosophers! Are we on Fox? I found Jenny to be thoroughly obnoxious, dogmatic, militant and unblanced. An attack dog. Saving animals my arse. On a big head trip! I thought Julie was flummoxed and trying to have balanced discussion instead of being steamrolled. I've heard her fill in before and she was good. Will have to search for other Jenny interviews.

Aug. 08 2012 07:01 PM
Abby Bean

My impersonation of Julie: But Jenny, what about people who just can't follow a vegan diet? There are people who can't eat grain...and cheese. Oh, wait. That's just me exposing my complete ignorance to the subject matter at hand. I'll be expecting those gift baskets from the beef and dairy industries tomorrow, wink wink!!

Aug. 08 2012 06:31 PM
JoJo from CT

I am stunned by all this praise for Jenny, as I don’t think she did that good a job. She comes across as intolerant of anyone who doesn’t think the way she does. If you are a follower of hers or her beliefs, then of course you think she was wonderful. But as someone who never heard of her until now, Jenny’s message comes across as superior, judgmental and uncompassionate to those who don’t share her views. She is also incorrect in her understanding of human evolution and wrong on the facts of how we became omnivores. I do believe that most people would be healthier if they stopped eating meat (I did, but I also recognize that it is a fact of science that there are some humans who do indeed need to eat meat), so I was sympathetic to Jenny’s views when I clicked play, but the end this she missed the mark with me.

As for the criticism of Julie, it is true that this wasn’t her greatest interview, but she is probably the best substitute host for Leonard who I wish was on more often. Too many public radio interviews have become puff pieces to sell books or let people espouse views unchallenged. Professionalism doesn’t mean just letting your guest say whatever she or he wants. I’ve always liked that Julie is willing to challenge her guests no matter the topic. Leonard used to do that too, but not so much in recent years.

Aug. 08 2012 04:03 PM
Phil from Bronx, NY

This may be the first time I heard an interviewer on WNYC be intolerant of their guest's views. Instead of expanding on Jenny Brown's view about the health effects of meat eating, Julie suddenly changed the subject. I could even hear Julie's sighs when she didnt like what Jenny Brown was saying. I really wish Leonard did this interview.

What Jenny Brown is saying is not radical at all. All one has to do is read the China Study by T. Colin Campbell to see about a real medical study done that shows the health beneifts seen in areas of China where they did not eat meat products.

Regardless, I am a member of WNYC because hosts like Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate (as well as everyone else) are great interviewers who are well prepapred and who allow their guests to speak their positions (and I don't always agree with those they bring on). It is a shame a guest host could not maintain this level of professionalism. If I want to hear a host strike down their guests when they don't agree, I could watch one of the cable news program bloviators.

Aug. 08 2012 03:11 PM

You can be a soy-free vegan. A nut-free vegan. A gluten-free vegan. You can even be all three. To claim that "not everyone can be vegan" because some people can't tolerate certain grains is an ignorant and untrue statement.

Otherwise, great interview! I especially like the line: "If we can live a happy healthy life without causing harm to others, why wouldn't we?" Indeed.

Aug. 08 2012 02:59 PM

The interviewer sounds really radical; it’s kind of crazy that she felt the need to defend herself on the air when SHE was the one attacking Jenny. Every time the interviewer was confronted with one of her moral inconsistencies or an idea she didn't quite like she changed the subject. The interview would have gone a lot smoother if the interviewer actually stayed on topic and talked about the book and the author. It is a shame the interview went this way, but Jenny still got her message across even with all the interruptions.

Aug. 08 2012 02:57 PM
Dwayne from Brooklyn, NY

Nice job Jenny! Way to stick to your convictions and not compromise your values to placate the interviewer.

Aug. 08 2012 02:00 PM

A rude and unprofessional host.

A persuasive and informed guest.

Well done, Jenny Brown.

Aug. 08 2012 01:37 PM
Not Julie

Too bad Julie Burstein has only a handful of personal experience while Jenny Brown has tons of hard facts. This is hopefully the only time I listen or read anything by Julie Burstein.

Aug. 08 2012 01:25 PM
Rochelle from NYC

The interviewer was extremely defensive and also misinformed, however Jenny is just as lovely and brilliant as ever! I hope more people will continue to deprogram the dogma in their minds implanted solely by industrial lobbyists, and if not - good luck with your heart disease and colon cancer! The revolution is just beginning and we're going to win.

Aug. 08 2012 01:07 PM
david Fabricant

This is the worst most obnoxious interviewer ever! Just let the woman talk about her book already! Sigh

Aug. 08 2012 01:04 PM
Celeste from New York

I think the interviewer did an extremely poor job of engaging her guest and remaining objective. If the interviewer wants to support eating meat, she should write a book and go on a radio junket. Otherwise, don't attack your guests.

Aug. 08 2012 11:16 AM
Lee from Brooklyn

NPR and Leonard Lopate, my problem with Jenny Brown is that she doesn't go far enough.

I am writing a book proving that plants and grains have souls, and why we must stop inflicting cruelties on them.

Hitler himself is known to have eaten beans with impunity from childhood.

Please allow me to have fifteen minutes of airtime and get out the message. There are many of my friends who will comment in support of me from the Catskills.

Aug. 08 2012 11:10 AM
Ike from Boerum Hill Brooklyn

Hi Mary, I have to agree with Alexander. Jenny Brown did imply this comparison; I think it's unfair that you attribute this to Alexander's insecurity, which makes me wonder about yours. Brown did not limit her objections to the brutal treatment of animals as factory produced food but spoke at length about the view of animals as food.

I think it's an injustice to Agamben to believe that his views on biopolitics extends to veganism. Agamben's concerns have always been anthropocentric, even in THE OPEN, which might the work you are citing. Admittedly, Agamben often leaves his own thoughts open to a lot of interpretation, so you could use them to argue whatever viewpoint you have.

One thing that can't be argued is his view of genocide and Auschwitz as penultimate disasters of history. I think we have to be careful about comparing these disasters as freely as Jenny Brown does.

I see this debate at hand as a consequence of our affluence and ability to choose whatever we eat. In the plethora of these choices and absence of religious ideology, we turn to a kind of consumer ideology with morals just as deeply restrictive. Hence, the only way to enforce these moral tenants is to elevate and exaggerate them to our most extreme tragedies (genocide and slavery in this case).

Aug. 08 2012 10:58 AM

Alexander, she didn't "compare everyone who has ever roasted a chicken to Hitler or Pol Pot"--not even close! That's probably your own insecurity speaking. Take the time to hear what she's saying and to think more carefully about the systematized violence and reduction of sentient beings to "bare life" (Agamben's term) that underlie both animal agriculture and the historical atrocities to which you allude. (Anyway, even if she HAD explicitly compared factory farming to the Holocaust--was everyone who was involved in the Holocaust Hitler? No. Most were ordinary citizens who didn't have the critical thinking skills or inner moral compass to realize that what they were participating in, though sanctioned by the state and deemed socially acceptable, was wrong. Sit with that for awhile and perhaps you will see that there's more to the comparison than the reductionist, straw-man-style argument you threw out there for rhetorical effect--because she absolutely didn't say that or even imply it.) But again, I think her point in using the term "concentration camps" was not to assign moral culpability to anyone in particular, but to highlight the systematized brutality and the reduction of individual living creatures to objects and units of production.

And the annoying stereotypes run both ways--the guest host was like a caricature of the "defensive carnivore" that vegans encounter all the time (Google "defensive carnivore bingo").

Aug. 08 2012 05:56 AM
Alexander from Brookyln

As much as the guest host was harsh on Jenny Brown, hearing Brown talk made me wonder if they bother vetting their guests when Lopate is away. Brown seemed to sum up every bad date or annoying dinner party conversation I have had when someone will refuse to leave the point of animal consumption with out even reaching the point of "I have my life style, you have yours, no judgement passed either way." Genocide? Concentration camps? It is possible to push for reform (which is needed) in the livestock industry without comparing everyone who has ever roasted a chicken to Hitler or Pol Pot.
The guest host was right in trying to change the subject at times but she needs to find a more tactful way of doing so. For next time, when you book someone writing or working with animal rights or alternative diet options, make sure they aren't a caricature of a PETA activist.

Aug. 08 2012 01:03 AM
omg from new york

Oh my god! I thought the interviewer was rude and defensive. She actually changed the subject when she didn't like what Jenny Brown was saying. I don't know if animals or even people have souls but this interview didn't have any.

Aug. 07 2012 11:22 PM
Steve from Elizaville NY

the interviewer did a disservice to the listeners of WNYC. Jenny is on the show to discuss her book and her views, the interviewer was obviously taking her perspective personally and could not even engage in a meaningful debate that the listeners could benefit from. Do not have this interviewer fill in for Leonard Lopate again.

Aug. 07 2012 09:28 PM
Linda from Scarsdale, NY

Julie, you were an unfair interviewer, imposing YOUR opinions, rather than drawing out what's interesting and important from your guest. Jenny is clearly a true advocate with a breadth of knowledge and passion that you were obligated to draw out. You made her defensive and therefore did not do a successful segment. Get back to journalism school.

Aug. 07 2012 09:26 PM
Ellen from NJ

Props for having Jenny Brown on the show. Unfortunate that the guest host was so defensive and rude towards the guest.

Aug. 07 2012 08:51 PM

I definitely agree with you that we are desensitized -disconnected from our foods, our bodies, our natural world. I think this is because we have become like the machines we invented and we don't realize we see ourselves and our fellow creatures through an industrial lens. I'd happily give to your farm - actually have sponsored a cow there before, I think. I don't eat meat but I don't think I have the right to tell anyone that I'm right and they are not and I know better than to just accept "studies" - personally I trust cultural traditions (via great grandmothers) with centuries of trial and error, and there are many peoples who eat meat and dairy. There are those who don't, but I don't know of a single completely vegan tradition. What's the quote from the Buddhist monk that plants can't scream? We take life from plants, too. "Eskimo" cultures appreciated this and lived accordingly - maybe James Houston could tell you about that in his books.

You don't know ANYTHING about what ANYBODY ELSE needs! You do a disservice to compassion with your militancy - Ask Donna Eden about needing meat - she healed herself of MS - could not process anything but red meat without being taken to the hospital. 5 MDs told her she needed to find a mother for her girls - she figured it out herself, had to train her body to tolerate food that grew out of the earth.

I have inoperable stage 4 cancer too and I know chemo is hell and there are others who have it far worse than myself - and I don't think you're the tiniest bit sensitive to suffering if you have to judge ANYBODY for not acting as you do. Many are aware that there is cruelty. I vote with my wallet. We can't all be Brigitte Bardot, who isn't self-righteous anyway. Nor is Carole Buckley (founder of the Elephant sanctuary in TN)

Animal poop on grass (which is how you feed cattle and poultry humanely - solar farming) feeds the earth that grows nutritious vegetables and grains. I don't know if animals treated humanely are happy, but I do know they are less stressed. Temple Grandin can tell you about that.

I think it's great that you have a farm sanctuary, however

You are going to turn people off and undermine your own good work if you don't consider that they can make up their own minds. Who in heaven's name died and left you in charge of the universe?

Aug. 07 2012 08:28 PM

yeah, lenny, i'm pretty sure you owe us at least a "please explain" segment about if people who "need meat" really exist. sounds like BALONEY! way to be objective, guest host...

Aug. 07 2012 07:50 PM
tom LI

Also never mentioned, or poorly addressed re; American health issues - is the lack of overall movement in the average Americans life. Exercise, and regular movement (of all kinds) that creates stress on the body is severely lacking in the American Lifestyle and the second root cause of our epidemic health issues.

We eat too much of everything - and we move less and less and less.

Aug. 07 2012 06:54 PM
tom LI

Animal suffering should be reduced...thats my disclaimer.

What and where does Evolution land in the discussion, and in this Authors case her Cause - when looking at the FACT that we humans Evolved to exploit animals for our needs...?

Ive seen the dietary studies and NONE of them are definitive in this notion that we're not meant to eat the flesh of other species. Intestinal or dental...we evolved to eat meat. And no amount of nay-saying can erase that huge fact!

The issue is we Americans eat TOO MUCH meat, period. And that's the real issue for the USA. Too much Meat is not good on several levels - which the author addressed - in between her "OPINIONs" - but not enough.

The American diet problems are Quantity based, and will remain so until we remove the mind-set of more, more, more...big is better, and if this much is good, than much more is better...! Its a cultural mind-set of Quantity over quality - and its at the root of most of our Modern problems.

Aug. 07 2012 06:27 PM
Amy T. from NYC

Thanks for having Jenny Brown on the show. She addresses many of the fundamental ethical issues related to the raising of animals for their meat and by-products. Regarding the repeated and unsupported claim by the guest host that some people require meat in their diet, Amy Lanou, who holds a doctorate in human nutrition from Cornell and is a professor in Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina and an expert in nutrition, childhood obesity, workplace wellness and healthy aging (her book "Building Bone Vitality" was featured in the New York Times), has this to say: “Meat is not a necessary or healthy food. We don’t need to eat it. . .If we as a country don’t take the big steps in avoiding animal-based foods, we are not going to see healthier people or a decline in chronic diseases.”

Aug. 07 2012 06:17 PM
Fred in NJ

Here is what is really sad, people get more worked up over "animal compassion" than "human compassion." Each year, five million children under the age of 5 die because hunger. Thousands of innocent civilians are killed in Syria yet we do nothing. Millions of people rot in prisons in the U.S. and around the world but few really care. We all say "nothing can be done" after each death by gun in America. We have the resources to end human suffering, but what gets people to call each other names and attack each others' credentials on compassion on a website is a book about saving a few farm animals. What does that say about us?

Aug. 07 2012 05:43 PM
federico915 from New Jersey

I caught only enough of Ms. Brown's discussion to make me an even more confirmed omnivor.

Most people care about the humane treatment of livestock, even if we end up eating them. Her suggestion that raising livestock is akin to concentration camps and genocide is the same kind of name calling that the far right uses when referring to groups they don't approve of, such as homosexuals. Her statement that we are biologically designed to be vegans is not scientifically supported.

Though she claims to love farm animals, her suggestion that we stop the raising of livestock to eat would essentially ensure that all of her beloved farm animals would soon be extinct. They have been bred such that few, if any could ever stand a chance of surviving in the "wild."

If one can make a moral judgment that it is bad to kill other animals and eat them, then every carnivor and omnivor is somehow bad. That is just plain silly and shows how ignorant she is about the processes of nature.

Aug. 07 2012 05:33 PM
Sheri S from Brooklyn, NY

There is a tiny minority of individuals who have serious digestive issues with grains and even certain vegetables. There are many cook books out there catering to special diets that are vegan/plant based. The guest Jenny Brown was offering Meatless Monday's as a start place. When you think about it, Vegans are only about 1- 2% of the population. I would venture to make an non-researched guess that people who have to eat animal protein for risk on not thriving are a fraction of one percent. There is no debate that the earth would be a better place for ALL if humans ate far fewer animals. There would be reduced animal suffering, better health for most & the environment would get a huge break too.

Aug. 07 2012 04:53 PM
mike on long island

growing crops to feed to animals that we in turn eat doesn't make a lot of sense. why not just eat the crops and save a whole lot of effort and waste,not to mention the ecological damage. ever see how they store hog waste?

Aug. 07 2012 04:28 PM
Mike Stura from New jersey.

LOL This interviewer is just looking for Jenny to absolve her of any guilt she has stemming from eating animals for no reason other than tradition, she didn't like it when Jenny was unwavering in her views...

It's sad how upset people act when someone is advocating for a life philosophy that encourages no one being intentionally harmed for us to live.

All in all, the interviewer knew what Jenny's book is about and had her on (with what now seems obvious) the intention of getting Jenny to advocate for "happy meat" but, Jenny didn't buy into it and I couldn't be more proud of her for it.

Way to go Jenny Brown, stick to what you KNOW is right, you're making us all proud.

Aug. 07 2012 02:38 PM

I wonder if Jenny Brown is concerned about the meat she feeds to her cat. If she preaches about not killing animals, having a cat that is an obligate carnivore increases the need of slaughtered animals. She needs people that eat meat so the scraps of butchering can be canned as cat food. I doubt that her cat would catch her/his own food. It seems a contradiction to me.

Temple Grandin helped make slaughtering less gruesome. I do not eat a lot of meat, but I think it would be hard to be a vegetarian for decades. I wonder if there are studies about not eating animal products for 40 / 50 years and see how the body reacts. The well being in the short term could be a problem in the long run.

I remember hearing on the BBC news a story about Indian vegetarians that moved to London from South Asia and became anemic not changing their diet. In India the food was less refined and they were unknowingly eating a lot of insect with their grains and vegetables

Aug. 07 2012 02:13 PM
David Silver from Brooklyn

My Doctor told me that I haaaave to eat a hamburger every day cause my body doesn't tolerate vegetables. Waaaah!

Aug. 07 2012 01:47 PM

vegans are always talking smack. where is your proof that mankind thrives on a vegan diet? where do you get your b12 from in the wild? cavemen must have really knew their stuff to survive on a vegan diet before they picked up a rock and killed something to eat.

Aug. 07 2012 01:42 PM
Often Called Abnormal

“No nutritional need to eat animals” No true for me! As a person who can’t eat dairy, all grains, most beans, soy, eggs, sugar, etc., my diet is just meat, fish, and vegetables. Anything else makes me sick or could kill me. I’ve been called weird since I was kid and I don’t appreciate Jenny Brown implying that I am a bad person for eating meat. Don’t assume that everyone can just give up animal protein because there are folks who can’t. I’m glad this guest host didn’t give Ms. Brown as free pass. I don't feel a need to judge Jenny Brown, so she shouldn't be busy judging me and others.

Aug. 07 2012 01:34 PM
Guest from Montclair, NJ

Carol Davis, what strikes me as "primitive" is the need to judge and cast aspersions on the thought quality of others (whom you don't know). Because they don't agree with you, doesn't mean they are primitive or that they haven't given the subject some thought. Get over yourself, and your own apparent sense of your enlightenment. There are many listeners who agree with Ms Brown, and many who don't, but who listen respectfully and thoughtfully. Some will agree with some of what she says, and disagree with other positions she expresses. That, to me, represents a more complex and sophisticated capacity for reasoning than simply accepting everything wholesale, and then lobbing insults at other listeners. It's a complex subject that does require actual thought to make sense of it and find a balanced approach to health and humane treatment.
And yes, there absolutely *are* medical conditions that would make eating a vegan diet extremely difficult. Because some commenters here haven't heard of them or suffered from them doesn't mean they don't exist. Try extending your compassion for animals to the human animals who suffer from such conditions, rather than simply offering smug judgment. You really don't know *everything*.

Aug. 07 2012 01:28 PM

I was brought to tears by Jenny Brown's interview . Not because I didn't know all that she was discussing but because I do . Because I have had the same struggle with others just like Andrea that are frantically doing everything they can to fearfully hold on to a shreds of their lifelong indoctrination . Because I am thrilled that WNYC finally allowed the voice of truth to be broadcast . Not partial truth , not half truths but the whole truth that is connected to all the others .
The hardest thing about becoming / being vegan is having to face the truth and what we have been complacent in not finding something to eat or wear or staying healthy . That is the easy part . The hard part is seeing the suffering not only of animals , but also people and our environment as a result of animal agriculture . Realizing that we are not as smart and that our beliefs are / were not as independent as we thought . Why not try goggling vegan nutrition , Humane and join vegan groups on facebook if you are really interested in the truth . Not to mention reading Jenny's book and or visiting her sanctuary and getting to know "your food " .
I have been vegan nearly three years and have never felt better or had tastier more diverse food . Best thing is I sleep well at night knowing I am actually doing my best to live an honest life aligned with my true values .

Aug. 07 2012 01:26 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Years ago (long enough that I don't remember her name for sure), I read that a well-known natural food/nutrition writer & her husband decided to become vegetarian. He started doing poorly. She was knowledgeable enough that they were able to try various vegetarian diets to try to find one that would work for him, but none of them did. He didn't do any better until he went back to eating meat. So I believe that for some people, it may actually be necessary to have *some* meat in their diet. I'm a vegetarian myself, but I'm sorry to hear Ms. Brown dismiss the idea that needing to eat meat is possible for *any* human.

Aug. 07 2012 01:17 PM

Julie was so defensive- and misinformed. This guest's vision is compassionate and intelligent. I once held fast to my love of meat-eating, too. Once I finally gave it up, my health improved and I don't even miss it since I feel so much better in body and soul. Lately I've been struggling with the ethics of consuming eggs and dairy. This interview- both the content and the tone of stubborn justification from the host- just convinced me to stop making excuses and go vegan. Thanks, Jenny!

Aug. 07 2012 01:14 PM
Ken from Brooklyn

Lame guest: so defensive and strident!

Aug. 07 2012 01:13 PM

Sorry, this woman is totally wrong!
I have a condition that does not let me breakdown the natural sugars found in vegetable and fruits and some grains like qinuoa.
So a large portion of my diet comes from animal protein and carbs.
Given that I have this condition I can testify to my first comment about this woman being totally wrong.
We can all find the "right" information to back up what we would like to believe but it's wrong to ignore reality.
Just ask the local duane reade or wallgreens how many antacids and Beano is being sold due to a greater vegetarian diet!
Saving animals from abusive treatment needs to be separated from becoming vegan, we should be more humane to animals, especially if we eat them.

Aug. 07 2012 01:11 PM
Jan from Plainfield NJ

Calm down, carnivores! Jenny Brown is hardly intolerant. Considering the cruelty she has witnessed going uncercover to slaughterhouses, she sounds remarkably even-handed. I'm surprised she did not go into detail about the cruelty of animal farming. Perhaps this show was edited for length?
The interviewer's bias became apparent when she changed the subject when Ms. Brown started to talk about nutrition and the health risks of eating animals. While the impact on human health is not Ms. Brown's main concern, it was certainly worth hearing more about, yet the interviewer cut her off. Hmm...
As for those of you who say "nature is cruel" - humans are (supposedly) the apex of creation. Even if you wish to eat animals, it is not necessary to torture them, which is what happens now in stockyards and slaughterhouses. A wild animal operates on pure instinct. Humans, with our brains - and our capacity for thought and compassion - have a moral obligation to be compassionate. We are not wild animals.

Aug. 07 2012 01:10 PM
Guest from Montclair, NJ

It's a good thing for Jenny Brown that she hadn't yet had her conversion to 'radical compassion' when she was receiving chemo--all of those powerful drugs (and even less potent drugs, like common headache relievers) are first tested on animals. I'm happy for her that she survived such a serious illness and wouldn't wish it upon her, but I wonder if her illness returned, would she today agree to chemo, knowing of the animals who contributed unwillingly to its testing? When she gets a headache, does she suffer through it without medicine? Does she ever take antibiotics? Her admittedly 'radical' stance seems to me a bit naive. I don't want animals treated cruelly, either, and I try to reflect that in my diet as much as possible. But I'm in a position to do so, as I have enough money to buy what I want and don't live in a food 'desert' like many people in poor communities, who have fewer choices.

Aug. 07 2012 01:09 PM
M from NY

MMegan, didn't sound like "optional" was an option.....

Aug. 07 2012 01:09 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

More meat, more stomach cancer for women, and more
prostate cancer for men. Sorry guys no way
up after surgery.

Aug. 07 2012 01:08 PM
Megan Daily from NJ

Yikes; I'm so glad this guest was able to brave the chilly reception she got from her host! It's continually surprising to me how deeply upset people get when confronted with the idea that eating meat is OPTIONAL. Thanks for having her on, we have so far to go with this but the scales are falling from our eyes I think...

Aug. 07 2012 01:06 PM
Michael P. Gaughan from Brooklyn

Julie was uncomfortable with Jenny's strong beliefs about humans eating of meat and I am troubled that Julie asked Jenny to change focus even when Jenny said she was just expressing her opinion found in her book, the reason she was on the show. (FIRST AMENDMENT).

Jenny's perspective is a minority one, but I was eager to hear her points and Julie hindered that.

Aug. 07 2012 01:06 PM
Barb from Montclair

WAY TO GO Julie! Your courteous persistence in refusing to let Jenny claim health conditions that preclude veganism as false is right on! Great interviewing! No one is a more passionate advocate for animals than me. But I feel just as passionate that to claim absolutist messages (veganism is healthy for anyone) is damaging to the message of the need for compassion for farm animals. If Jenny stuck to that message, she'd be so much more powerful.

Aug. 07 2012 01:06 PM
Andrew from Brooklyn

I feel like the guest hose is misinterpreting Jenny's comments as proselytizing. No need to get so defensive, she explained that she realizes that her beliefs could be seen as radical by others, and even stated that her main goal is to raise consumer consciousness, rather than focus on "converting" others to veganism.

Aug. 07 2012 01:06 PM
John W from NJ

I am vegetarian for over 20 years and BOTH the guest and the host are annoying me. What a crappy interview Julie. You are trying to insert this notion that some people medically need meat, this is not true. But wouldn't it have been better to say, "Isn't it true that some people need meat for medical reasons?" To which the guest would have replied "No" and why. Instead it was like an argument not an interview.

Aug. 07 2012 01:05 PM
John A.

I have no idea where that catfight came from. Will have to listen again to get it. Personally I have been avoiding meat (90% vegetarian) for 15 years, no issues.

Aug. 07 2012 01:05 PM
Jay F.

24 acres isn't a farm, it's a hobby.

Aug. 07 2012 01:05 PM
Steve Smith

Many places in this country require the hunting of deer to prevent overpopulation and destruction of habitats because humans have killed off their predators. Many people in rural areas depend on these deer as a source of protein.

I lived as a vegan for 3 years. I'm concerned abou the environment and believe meet should be a luxury. Concurrent with my veganism was another health kick: strengh training. I struggled to build muscle with my lifting partners until finally I gave up. A few months after introducing milk, cheese and meat back into my diet I saw my reps and gain increase markedly. Can you survive and thrive as a vegan? Sure. But to say those sources of protein are just as good is incorrect. Athletes and others who demand the best nutrition will always demand animal products.

Aug. 07 2012 01:04 PM
dara from nyc

I eat meat, so my comment is not advocating a vegan diet (directly). But the host's assertion that some people cannot eat a vegan diet is incorrect. It just takes more effort to get all of the nutrients needed to be healthy.

Aug. 07 2012 01:04 PM
Jay F.

You're going to compare Jenny Brown to Nelson Mandela? Get a grip...

Aug. 07 2012 01:02 PM

Smitka, totally agree on the topic shift. Condescending and soured the whole conversation. Julie, get a grip.

Aug. 07 2012 01:01 PM
Zen from S Salem

Im hugely in favor of treating animals well, whether they are our food ot not.
However when it comes to Veganism , why is it that vegans must suppliment their diet ? Where as an omnivore with a balanced diet needs no suppliments ? Clearly the vegan diet leaves the body lacking in much needed nutrients.

Aug. 07 2012 01:01 PM
Amy from Brooklyn

This host should ask questions more diplomatically and not criticize Brown. Even if she finds Brown's approach radical/abrasive, there's a way to get the information from her without sounding defensive and critical. It would be much more interesting if she asked Brown *why* she uses words like 'compassion' (in relation to veganism) and 'excuse' (in relation to eating meat for health reason) rather than criticizing her for it.

Whenever the usual hosts go away on vacation, I appreciate their work so much more!

Aug. 07 2012 01:00 PM
Carol Davis

Thanks for having her on the show. I hope she will enlighten some of the primitive thinkers who have left comments here. Sadly, there are many more.

Aug. 07 2012 01:00 PM
julie from Park Slope

Instead of discussing better treatment of animals, she's gone off on "holocaust" comparisons to animals.

Nothing worst than a militant vegan. "MY WAY IS THE RIGHT WAY, THE ONLY WAY!" Goodbye.

Aug. 07 2012 01:00 PM
Mike from Inwood

If those animals were never kept in concentration camps and no genocide was being perpetrated, those animals would never exist; they would not live in a more humane manner.

'Humane' being something of a misnomer here since it seems to imply that humans are moe compassionate than animals.

Also, maintaining a strict diet with no mean and diary that is nutritionally balanced is no easy feat. A complete protein can be had with only plants, but it takes a lot of planning.

Aug. 07 2012 01:00 PM
norman douglas from hudson-accord-manhattan new york

there is nothing in the vegan diet that people cannot eat. your experience was ill-informed. it is not a radical path. it is healthier for humans. you, like most meat-eaters are irrationally defensive. you cut off your guest and don't let her speak. eating meat needs excuses. the meat you eat does not eat meat. cows are vegans. jonathan safran-foer wrote about this. the word "carnival" tells us that eating meat was an occasional event. historically, meat-eating begins with cannibalism, eating the meat of the sacrificial virgin (king, queen), later the meat of the sacrificial lamb, finally, the scapegoat. don't be afraid. you can do it. it feels good.

Aug. 07 2012 01:00 PM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

As more and more information comes out regarding animal cruelty in the agricultural sector, it becomes more evident that we, as a society and as factors of the economy, we do need to look for our food in forms other than animals. This has long been an issue that I have been closely akin to for many years. I do believe that if more people chose to walk away from meat based meals, we will see less industry adopting these cruel systems and applying them to the agricultural animals in question.

Aug. 07 2012 12:59 PM
Maddy from NYC

How does this lady explain away the fact that if deer hunting in some agricultural / rural area did not happen, the deers, cute as they may be, would over-run and deplete the local crops if not for the hunters that go out during hunting season? I don't like the mis-treatment of animals either but my pet pig is not the same as my child. She is taking it to looney-tune levels. Must be nice to afford to live on that farm in Woodstock while disdaining the rest of us for living modestly in our little apartments. She is definitely one if The Lucky Ones!

Aug. 07 2012 12:59 PM
mark from New York

I'm a 40-year vegetarian and this woman is annoying the heck out of me.

Aug. 07 2012 12:59 PM

This woman is trying my patience with her dogma. There are cultures that raise their food compassionately. I choose to eat very little animal flesh, but it's my choice, I don't want it imposed on my any more than I want religious beliefs on me. I get that we probably need to have better food management, and that we should treat animals with respect, but comparing the treatment of animals to slavery or genocide really pushes a dogmatic line that I do not appreciate.

Aug. 07 2012 12:59 PM
Peter from Murray Hill

After this interview, I'm a certified fan of Jenny Brown. I like her pushing the questioning and the critical eye she brings to this interview. Something Lopate doesn't seem to do too much; he's too obsequious.

Aug. 07 2012 12:59 PM
Lora from Brooklyn

She compared eating animals to genocide and enslavement but wants us to believe she's compassionate because she's a cancer survivor. You have convinced no one and offended many. I am going to enjoy a nice meat-based lunch in her dishonor.

Aug. 07 2012 12:58 PM
Angela from Manhattan

Thank you so much for having Jenny Brown on the show.
I am so outraged by how we treat Animals in every industry:
food, entertainment, science, etc.
I am so glad that many more are being made aware, but not enough is being done. I only see an Animal enslaved when I see them in these horrendous situations. I find that my views are extreme because I don't believe Humans are the masters of this universe, I agree with every thing Jenny Brown has shared 100%.

Aug. 07 2012 12:58 PM

I actually find the interviewer annoying -- bringing her own stuff into the interview. For some reason, she takes the whole debate very personally instead of talking about the issues, which are very important and valid.

I actually take offense at the way that she shifted the balance of power in the interview to the author's cancer -- a cheap shot as an interviewer.

Aug. 07 2012 12:58 PM

Thanks for having Jenny Brown on the program. She's great.
Nelson Mandela was considered radical by most in South Africa.
Under a Standard American Diet eating some animals, about 52% of men die from cardiovascular diseases so is trying to drastically reduce that radical?

Trying a few more meals a week veg/vegan helps the person and the animals.


Aug. 07 2012 12:57 PM
RBB-WaHi from NYC

I think they're both acting, well, carnivorous. I eagerly await Leonard's return.

Aug. 07 2012 12:57 PM
Leo from Queens

Host and guest are going to get into a fist fight - What's going on with the guest hosts being hostile to their guests this week?

Aug. 07 2012 12:57 PM
john from office

I always find these diets as elitest, rich people's choice diets.

Nature is about predation, animals each each other. My cats will eat anything that moves if hungry and people eat meat. I just say that we can be kind and not brutal.

Read the times today about the dog epidemic in India, they cannot kill them because of Hinduism, there is a great problem.

Aug. 07 2012 12:57 PM

watch a nature program. lions eat animals while they are still alive. life is cruel. yes we should change our farming habits. it sucks. but to not eat things because of our feelings is ridiculous. a lion or bear would eat you without regard.

Aug. 07 2012 12:57 PM

How does she feel about lab-created meat?

Aug. 07 2012 12:56 PM
Laura from New York, New York

I'm not sure why the guest host keeps on bringing up her own personal objections to a vegan diet and is using vague reasons as to why it might be necessary for people to eat meat. Her questions are quite narrow minded and don't suggest any curiosity to learn about an alternative way of eating.

Aug. 07 2012 12:56 PM
Eli from astoria

this woman is a real radical....and she is right on.
this kind of talk definitely makes people really uptight but it is very hard to deny the truth of what she says. the ACTUAL number of people who need meat to survive is incredibly small. with the right diet most people would in fact be much healthier without eating meat. the moral difference between killing/eating a dog and a pig is non matter how good either animal might taste or how much one might say they need bacon and ham for "health reasons". nonsense.

Aug. 07 2012 12:56 PM
Jonah from Brooklyn

They grew bacon in a lab last month! Upscale it!

Aug. 07 2012 12:56 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Oooh, ladies, testy! I'm feelin it. Keep it real! Good journalism does not require neutrality, just fair reporting.

Aug. 07 2012 12:56 PM

Why is the host harping on not being able to eat grains? A vegan diet is possible for nearly anyone out there and more nutritious, compassionate, and energizing than eating meat and dairy.

Aug. 07 2012 12:55 PM
Jeff from UWS

Julie Burstein I'm a vegan....but after this interview, will you marry me?

Aug. 07 2012 12:55 PM

we are omnivores like bears.

Aug. 07 2012 12:55 PM

tell that to the 80% of the world that is vegetarian by default because they are starving. its obnoxious to assume that we can thrive without animals products where in places like africa where people get to eat real meat 1 time a year. grains dont cut it.

you dont get B12 from plants by the way.

Aug. 07 2012 12:54 PM
Jay F.

Are you serious?

Aug. 07 2012 12:54 PM
Eric from LIC

I'm so tired of this argument for abstaining from eating animals. My basil plant is just as alive as the most intelligent pig. Eating involves putting life into your mouth and taking nutrients from it.

Aug. 07 2012 12:54 PM
Sandra Jordan

This woman is deeply annoying...rigid and disagreeable.

Aug. 07 2012 12:54 PM
Linda from LES

She using the same strident, intolerant, zealot vocabulary she learned from her Baptist family.
I grew up Baptists too.

I can't listen to this tone of voice anymore.
Sorry to miss your message but I'm turning off the radio.

Aug. 07 2012 12:53 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Indigenous cultures that raise(d) animals for food usually treat(ed) them well. The grace I say is actually borrowed from an indigenous people on the motherland. Applies to animal and plant: "I'm sorry I have killed you. I am grateful that you have given your life so that I may live. I feel the void you have left."

Aug. 07 2012 12:52 PM

watch any nature program. real life is cruel. lions eat the smallest and the weakest of the herd.

Aug. 07 2012 12:51 PM

the solution to farm animal abuse is to do like most countries do. allow animals to roam free and live a normal life. not eating animals isn't the solution as we are omnivores and it is a natural part of life. all animals eat living things. herbivores eat living plants, omnivores eat living plants and living animals and carnivores herbivores and omnivores.

corporate agriculture is evil and heartless. go organic and go local. not eating animals for a political purposes or idealogical purposes isn't nutritionally sound.

Aug. 07 2012 12:50 PM
john from office

This subject is dear to me. I love animals and have many pets. Animals are not widgets, to be processed. They are being that deserve a good life, even is raised for food. There is no reason to be inhumane.

Seems the older world held these lives to a higher value. The size of the industry makes each animal less.

Aug. 07 2012 12:44 PM
Andreas Turanski from New York, NY

Great you're having Jenny Brown on the show! She seems very inspirational and the cause of Rescuing Farm Animals seems important to having a real civilized society given the difference she found between what we think happens 'back there' and what really happens to these intelligent beings.


Aug. 07 2012 12:36 PM

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