When she turned 87 years old, Natasha Brenner, along with her husband Noah, decided to leave behind their quiet lives in suburban Long Island and move into New York in order to join the city’s burgeoning animal rights movement. With great humility and oversized hearts, they brought their wisdom and positive energy to wherever bodies were needed — from circus, fur and horse-drawn carriage protests to rallies on the steps of City Hall. On the eve of her 97th birthday, Natasha sat down with TheirTurn to talk about her life and her advocacy.
On September 2nd, animal rights activists took to the streets of Manhattan to participate in an historic march for animal rights. According to the grass roots organizers, the purpose of the march was “to raise awareness about the billions of animals who we needlessly exploit and kill each year” for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation and “to oppose the mass animal oppression occurring every day around the world.”
Activists from all over the country traveled to NYC to participate in the march. Bob Ingersoll, a veteran animal rights activist who was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Project Nim, told TheirTurn, “This March will be one of the historically critical events in the effort to secure justice for all sentient beings, to end the use of animals as commodities, and recognize their equal right to live their lives free of human control and manipulation. That’s why I’m here in New York City, where the world is paying attention!”
Philly Stallone raps for 2,500 people at the rally before the NYC Animal Rights March
Simultaneous marches took place in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Romania and London, which attracted over 5,000 participants:
Organizers of an animal rights march in Israel scheduled on September 9th expect 30,000 participants.
Natasha Brenner, a NYC-based animal rights activist, turned 95 on December 16th, and, apart from a few aches and pains, she is a picture of health. Ms. Brenner, a vegetarian since 1992 and vegan since 2012, attributes her longevity to meditation and her plant-based diet. “It was very hard to give up cheese, but my consciousness was raised. It’s just very satisfying to know that you’re not hurting, killing or injuring an animal.”
During her career, Ms. Brenner worked in copy editing, public relations and real estate investing. In recent years, however, she has dedicated herself exclusively to animal rights. Over the past decade, Ms. Brenner and her husband Noah, who died in 2014, participated in weekly protests and rallies to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of midtown Manhattan.
Natasha Brenner educates tourists about the cruelty of NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade.
While her participation in the street protests has declined in the past two years, she continues to be advocate online. “I’m on the computer every day doing animal actions and petitions.”
Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner turns 95
While Brenner admits that she is “amazed” that she is “still here,” her friends and family are not at all surprised. “She’s as sharp today as the day I met her five years ago,” said Mickey Kramer, a friend of Brenner, who is a mere 48 years younger. “And you should see her play ping pong… amazing.”
Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner celebrates her 95th birthday with friends and family
When asked what she wants for her birthday, Brenner took a bite of her mango chick’n and said, “for all animals to be treated with respect and kindness.” And, without missing a beat, she added, “and to be six inches taller.”