Monday, April 5, 2010

Review: Animal Factory

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment
Author: David Kirby
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9780312380588
Audience: Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: (from FSB):

Swine flu. Bird flu. Unusual concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Massive fish kills from flesh-eating parasites. Recalls of meats, vegetables, and fruits because of deadly E-coli bacterial contamination.

Recent public health crises raise urgent questions about how our animal-derived food is raised and brought to market. In Animal Factory, bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby exposes the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching fallout that contaminates our air, land, water, and food.

In this thoroughly-researched book, Kirby follows three families and communities whose lives are utterly changed by immense neighboring animal farms. These farms (known as "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations," or CAFOs), confine thousands of pigs, dairy cattle, and poultry in small spaces, often under horrifying conditions, and generate enormous volumes of fecal and biological waste as well as other toxins. Weaving science, politics, law, big business, and everyday life, Kirby accompanies these families in their struggles against animal factories. A North Carolina fisherman takes on pig farms upstream to preserve his river, his family's life, and his home. A mother in a small Illinois town pushes back against an outsized dairy farm and its devastating impact. And, a Washington state grandmother becomes an unlikely activist when her home is covered with soot and her water supply is compromised by runoff from leaking lagoons of cattle waste.

Animal Factory is an important book about our American food system gone terribly wrong -- and the people who are fighting to restore sustainable farming practices and save our limited natural resources.

My Comment:

"Animal Factory" is a well written and well researched book that is both very informative and very engaging to read. David Kirby follows three families and communities and tells how factory farming has changed their lives. I found myself really enjoying Kirby's writing style. Although there is a LOT of information, the way it is presented is far from boring. Many times I was reading parts aloud to my husband and teens. All the time I was reading Animal Factory, I found myself telling everyone about it and telling them all that they should get a copy and read it.

We live in an area that has a few factory farms, and I know what problems we have had in our area and how it has affected those that live in close proximity. I have been in both veal and chicken factories and believe me, Kirby does not exaggerate. Kirby also does not tell anyone that they should become vegetarian, but instead wants everyone to be aware of the problem. With this awareness comes solutions to fix the system.

This book should be read by everyone that eats. We research our products we purchase before we buy them, so why shouldn't we have the same regard for our food? We should know where things come from and how they were grown. I promise this book will shock, amaze, and empower you!

If you would like to know more about David Kirby, you can visit his website at:
If you would like to read the introduction to his book, you can visit yesterday's posting here.
If you would like to read another article 6 Baby Steps that David has written, click here.

This book was sent to me by Anna of FSB to honestly review.


  1. I heard a lot of buzz about this book. I want to read this but scared I'll never want to eat again. Thanks for your review!

  2. Thank you for reading a book that I myself could not read. I've read Alice Waters, though, and I agreed with everything that she said. I'm not sure how Animal Factory outlines a way out of this spiralling problem, but I believe if we could remember to bring our business to the local farmers and stop buying Perdue/Tyson/etc. we would do a lot. I live an hour outside NYC...but only another hour away from an Organic livestock farm. No brainer!

    Thanks for the review!



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