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ANIMAL FACTORY by David Kirby

"A propulsive chronicle. Thanks to Kirby’s extraordinary journalism, we have the most relatable, irrefutable, and unforgettable testimony yet to the hazards of industrial animal farming."
BOOKLIST

"Kirby combines the narrative urgency of Sinclair's novel with the investigative reporting of Schlosser's book - Animal Factory is nonfiction, but reads like a thriller. There's no political pleading or ideological agitprop in this book; it's remarkably fair-minded, both sober and sobering... it has the potential to change the collective American mind about contemporary food issues." NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

Swine flu. MRSA. Unusual concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Massive fish kills from algal blooms and flesh-eating parasites. Recalls of meats, vegetables, and fruits because of deadly E-coli bacteria 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 can contaminate our air, land, and water supply.

In this thoroughly researched book, Kirby follows three families and communities whose lives are utterly changed by immense neighboring animal farms. These facilities, known as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,” or CAFOs, confine thousands of pigs, dairy cattle, and poultry in small spaces, often under stressful conditions, and generate enormous volumes of fecal and biological waste as well as other toxins. Weaving science, politics, big business, and everyday life, Kirby accompanies these families in their 20-year struggle 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 cattle 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 animal 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 safe natural resources.


Praise for Animal Factory

“Kirby combines the narrative urgency of Sinclair's novel with the investigative reporting of Schlosser's book — Animal Factory is nonfiction, but reads like a thriller. There's no political pleading or ideological agitprop in this book; it's remarkably fair-minded, both sober and sobering. Like Sinclair's and Schlosser's work, it has the potential to change the collective American mind about contemporary food issues.” NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, "BOOKS WE LIKE"

“Kirby profiles three individuals who have been subjected to the stench, mess, environmental contamination, and health risks of megafarms. Stonewalling government agencies and evasive and hostile factory-farm owners and their corporate overseers ensure that the trio’s battles for safe air and water have been protracted, complicated, and dangerous, hence the magnitude of Kirby’s meticulously detailed yet propulsive chronicle. Thanks to Kirby’s extraordinary journalism, we have the most relatable, irrefutable, and unforgettable testimony yet to the hazards of industrial animal farming.” BOOKLIST – JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (STARRED REVIEW)

“Animal Factory is a compelling narrative in the tradition of Upton Sinclair. It isn't a novel, but it moves along with the urgency of a pot-boiler. What Kirby has done in this journalistic account of animal factory operations across the country is draw back the curtains that have carefully screened from the public the untidy secrets about how meat is produced on a large scale in this country.” THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

"Unlike recent books on this topic that advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle (e.g., Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals), Kirby focuses on the negative impacts CAFOs are having on not only those who live near these operations but also those who may be affected by polluted water originating from waste lagoon spills at these sites. His narrative is immensely readable.” LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Kirby takes the industry to task for its destruction of the environment, its deleterious effect on the family farm and rural America, and its lies, which have led to government inaction. Kirby's descriptions of how the animals are treated is chilling.” INDIE NEXT “NOTABLE” LIST, AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION

 

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