Allowed To Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries

Univ. of Chicago. May 2019. 126p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780226391373. $40. agriculture
Leshko visited the animals profiled in her book over the course of nearly a decade, getting to know her subjects slowly while earning their trust. She also learned about the sanctuaries in which they were able to live out their natural lifespans and the sometimes terrible conditions that brought the animals there. Leshko’s work, which has been featured in publications like the Atlantic and New York Times, is singular in its exploration of the lives of noncompanion animals. The photographer/author shows the impact of factory farming and other exploitative practices on animal populations. The pictures of aging cows, chickens, and turkeys, for example, present a visual contrast to the fact that most animals raised for human consumption never live past six months. The stories illustrate the creatures’ inner worlds and the lives that other animals could have if allowed to do so.
VERDICT Leshko’s profiles show these nonhuman animals as their own beings rather than as commodities. Readers will be hard pressed not to consider that message in examining the food and products they consume.
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