It always thrills me to learn about phenomenal activists and ambassadors for the cause. When I first wrote about the late Ann Cottrell Free back in 2012, I was instantly enamored:
I enjoyed reading about Ann Cottrell Free, a writer whose life’s mission involved telling the stories of those who were marginalized by society — whether human or non-human. In the 50s, Ann’s coverage of animal protection stories ultimately led to the Humane Slaughter and Animal Welfare Acts being passed — bills that admittedly are incredibly flawed, but were, in their time, huge steps forward. Ann Cottrell Free was a true pioneer.
Excitingly, that article led to a lovely email relationship between me and Ann’s daughter, Elissa Blake Free. Elissa helps to oversee the National Press Club Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award, an annual honor that recognizes excellence in reporting about animals in the categories of print/online and broadcast. (They are currently seeking submissions for work done in 2013 — and the deadline for this is April 1, 2014. I encourage anyone who is interested to apply.)
Elissa and I were recently emailing, and I was so moved by everything she had to say about her mom that I asked her to jot a few thoughts down for you, our darling flock. She is also giving away two books by Ann — so there will be two lucky winners (one for each of you). Read to the bottom of this for instructions on how to win a copy of Animals, Nature and Albert Schweitzer, and No Room, Save in the Heart.
Dear Members of the Flock,
#PRIVATE#As I have gotten to know Jasmin and Mariann by listening to their wonderful podcast and following them online, I have thought over and over again about how much my mother, Ann Cottrell Free, who died in 2004, would have loved them and would have been so thrilled by what they are doing.
And by what all of YOU are doing.
My mother was a very early animal person. She was an animal person before there was such a thing as an animal person. Born in 1916 in Richmond, Virginia, she was horrified when she learned that her grandparents’ chickens were being eaten for supper, by how the fox was torn apart by the hounds, by how the mules were treated in underground coal mines, the list goes on.
Later in life, after breaking barriers as the first woman reporter in the Washington bureaus of Newsweek, the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Herald Tribune and working as a foreign correspondent, she used the power of the pen to tell stories of what was happening to animals.
Beagles in laboratories, mustangs in the west, inhumane slaughter, endangered species, dog and cat overpopulation, the endless list of animal suffering.
Along the way, she wrote a small book about one of her heroes, the great humanitarian, philosopher and musician, Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his ethic of reverence for life. It is called Animals, Nature and Albert Schweitzer.
And she gathered her poetry, mostly about animals, into a volume called No Room, Save in the Heart.
I can’t think of a better audience for these books than you, members of the Flock, so I am very pleased to be able to share them with you. I hope you enjoy them, and that in some small way, they may inspire you to keep fighting the good fight.
-Elissa Blake Free
Want to win a copy of Animals, Nature and Albert Schweitzer or No Room, Save in the Heart by Anne Cottrell Free? Email contest [at] ourhenhouse [dot] org, with the subject of the email saying “Ann Cottrell Free Giveaway” — and make sure to include your mailing address. You have one week to enter — so you have until Midnight EST on Thursday, February 13, 2014. On February 14, we will randomly select two winners. You can only enter one time, and you must be a flock member to enter. Good luck!