ANIMAL FACTORY – Reviews to Date

April 03, 2010  |   Zipper   |     |   1 Comment

CRITICS GIVE RAVE REVIEWS 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 ASSN (STARRED REVIEW) 

Animal Factory is a compelling narrative in the tradition of Upton Sinclair, whose 1906 novel “The Jungle” led to changes in the meat-packing industry. 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. You’ll read about the cramped feeding operations where animals are fattened for market, the pharmaceuticals that go into feed, the alarming practices used to dispose of feces and urine and how animal byproducts sometimes wind up in feed.” – THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

“Kirby turns his investigative reporting skills to the human and environmental consequences of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). 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 and should be required reading for anybody concerned with how CAFOs are changing the nature of livestock farming.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Centering on three tales of large-scale factory farming, David 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, and I can guarantee that you’ll never eat pork with a clean conscience again.” –INDIE NEXT “NOTABLES,” AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSN

“An environment in which there are lakes of putrid slush, foul odors wafting in the breeze and entire rivers turning orange may sound like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, but it’s a reality for many people who live near industrial farms – the result of keeping thousands of animals in one place in order to keep prices low. In his latest book, Animal Factory, David Kirby follows three unlikely grassroots activists who have opposed big agriculture, from small community protests to the national sustainable movement.” –LEONARD LOPATE, WNYC-FM, NPR Affiliate, New York City

“Good journalists know that the key to hooking their audience on a complex social problem is to put a human face on it. And David Kirby is a good journalist. In his new book Animal Factory Kirby puts a human face on the threat of industrial meat production to humans and environmental health. Animal Factory tells the story of three people who became unlikely activists against large-scale factory farms and their accompanying stench, waste and cost.” –FRANK STASIO, WUNC-FM, NPR Affiliate, North Carolina

Animal Factory is really a wonderful book, an easy read, and one that you often wrestle with. And I think that, for those of us who are thinking about the future of our world, well, this is one of those books you must read.” –MARK STEINER, WEAA-FM, NPR Affiliate, Baltimore

Kirby has assembled an amazingly detailed history of his subjects’ grassroots struggles. It’s an impressive feat of all-consuming, shoe-leather journalism, and his litany of unneighborly insults, like the “stinky, mocha-colored mist” that one mega-dairy inflicts on the property next door, packs a punch. His dogged pursuit of the story has made him unquestionably expert on factory farming and the resistance movement thereof. –THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY, DURHAM, NC

“Kirby avoids the classic conservationist (lefty) versus business dichotomy (Republican) in focusing on people like ex-Marine turned Riverkeeper, Rick Dove. Animal Factory is a valuable addition to the growing number of works like Food Inc. and The Omnivore’s Dilemma exposing the ills of mass-produced meat and dairy. Kirby uses the stories of the three families, as they move from their local fights to the national scene, to draw readers into the morass of government regulations and lawsuits that surround the CAFO issue.” EUGENE WEEKLY

“If you want to know about the worst practices of our food system, David Kirby is your man. Kirby has the inside track on all things factory farm, which is why Washington Post’s “On Leadership” column recently invited him to write a guest post about President Obama’s record on reform in this area. Kirby’s right in saying that “Obama should go out of his way to showcase his leadership in confronting the pollution and economic consolidation of animal factory farming.”–CHANGE.ORG

FULL REVIEWS: WHAT CRITICS SAY

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO – ‘Toxic ‘Factory’: Industrial Meat and the Environment – by Michael Schaub

In 1905, novelist Upton Sinclair began publishing, in serial form, The Jungle, his expose on food safety and the mistreatment of workers in the American meatpacking industry. The book horrified the American public and set into motion a governmental response that would eventually lead to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration.

Almost a century later, Eric Schlosser’s nonfiction Fast Food Nation was published, and while it didn’t have the massive immediate effect of Sinclair’s novel, it did bring the politics of food back to the forefront of the American consciousness. Schlosser went on to co-produce the popular documentary Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner, which recently earned an Oscar nomination for its investigative look at the practices of the American food industry.

While there’s no doubt that many Americans might rather not know how the hamburgers and hot dogs we eat make their way to our tables, it’s becoming impossible for anyone to ignore the provenance of the meat that many of us buy, cook and eat every day.

In Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, journalist David Kirby turns his eye to one of the more controversial elements of contemporary American food production — factory farms, or “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs), which have allowed meat producers to manufacture meat more quickly, and in greater quantities, than ever before. These large-scale operations have managed, to some degree, to make meat more affordable for many consumers; Kirby wonders whether the cost to the environment — and the health of people who live near the farms — is worth it.

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. He follows three somewhat accidental activists: Helen Reddout, a Washington state teacher and orchardist; Karen Hudson, a farmer’s wife and engineering troubleshooter in Illinois; and Rick Dove, a Republican Vietnam veteran and fisherman who served as a “riverkeeper” in North Carolina. Each found out about the environmental and health effects of factory farms the hard way — when their respective communities were hit by illness and pollution after CAFOs opened near their homes.

Their stories, of course, are heartbreaking. Waste lagoon breaches and factory runoffs impact each community with varying degrees of seriousness. In one profoundly sad section, Kirby details the massive fish kill in Dove’s beloved Neuse River, which choked the waterways with a billion dead fish. While all of the activists are able to make some headway into the regulation of factory farms in their communities, their paths are incredibly frustrating, blocked by corporate interests and a parade of indifferent, feckless or hostile politicians.

The growth of factory farming in America obviously brings up issues of animal welfare, labor and nutrition, but Kirby’s focus in Animal Factory is purely how the farms are changing, perhaps irrevocably, the environments and the long-term health of the people who live near them. 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. It deserves a wide audience, despite — or because of — the fact that it might be the most frightening book of the year.

BOOKLIST – JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – **STARRED REVIEW**

In factory farms, thousands of animals are confined and rapidly fattened for slaughter, generating millions of gallons of animal waste, which is stored in open lagoons and sprayed into the air. Kirby, author of the best-selling Evidence of Harm (2005), profiles three individuals who have been subjected to the stench, mess, environmental contamination, and health risks of megafarms. Rick Dove, a Marine Corps prosecutor, retired early to enjoy the Neuse River near his North Carolinian home but instead became a devoted “riverkeeper” after witnessing massive fish kills caused by pig-factory waste. In beautiful Yakima Valley, Washington, Helen Reddout and her husband joyfully tended their fruit orchards until a megadairy fouled their property, inducing Helen to become a “warrior activist.” The same thing happened to farmer’s wife Karen Hudson in Elmwood, Illinois. 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.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER and RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER – “Factory Farms and the Flu” – By Jack Betts

A few years ago author David Kirby had never heard of the acronym CAFO. The acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller “Evidence of Harm” about the nexus between mercury in vaccines and the prevalence of autism, Kirby was researching another question that was vexing him. Why was arsenic getting into the homes and schools of a little town in Arkansas, and why were so many children getting cancer. Soon enough, “I wanted to know why we put arsenic in chicken feed,” he said the other day while passing through Raleigh.

The answers stunned him. “Arsenic makes chickens grow faster (it inhibits an intestinal fungus) and gives the skin a nice pearly tone” in grocery stores, he read. And the chicken feed that contained arsenic was increasingly fed to the birds in confined animal feeding operations – CAFOs for short. They’re animal factories, say many Americans who live near and breathe the ripe aromas associated with large-scale production facilities for the poultry, pork and beef that provide much of the diet for the residents of this country.

The more Kirby read about CAFOs and problems with concentrated feeding operations of large animals, the more he ran across the name of Rick Dove, a native of the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland who settled in New Bern after a career as a Marine Corps officer.

And when Kirby was ready to write “Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment,” he had settled on the stories of three unusual people and their families to tell what’s happening: Helen Reddout, an orchardist in the Yakima Valley of Washington, where factory dairies began operating; Karen Hudson of Elmwood, Ill., where factory farm operations led to waste spills and divisions in her community over health, economics and environmental degradation; and Dove, a conservative Republican who became a forceful advocate challenging the pollution of North Carolina’s waters by industrial hog farm operations that state and local officials ignored for years.

“Animal Factory” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010, $26.99) has just made its debut in bookstores and online. It’s a compelling narrative in the tradition of Upton Sinclair, whose 1906 novel “The Jungle” led to changes in the meat-packing industry and prodded Congress that same year to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Animal Factory isn’t a novel, but it moves along with the urgency of a pot-boiler in recounting Dove’s odyssey from military officer to retired fisherman to strong-willed challenger of governmental indifference to the decline of the Neuse River in Eastern North Carolina.

Kirby was hooked on the North Carolina angle even before the first time he went up in a small plane with Dove over Eastern N.C. – and not only saw the farms with huge spray guns shooting liquefied feces and urine into the air, but could suddenly smell them as well. That, Kirby says, was his introduction to how some farmers illegally inject animal poop into the state’s waterways.

Dove’s story is fairly well known in this state. I’ve been writing about his work since 1996 and about the lethal impact of a toxic dinoflagellate identified by N.C. State Professor JoAnn Burkholder. The News & Observer thoroughly documented the rise of the factory animal farm in its Pulitzer Prize-winning 1995 series “Boss Hog: The Power of Pork.”

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. You’ll read about the cramped feeding operations where animals are fattened for market, the pharmaceuticals that go into feed, the alarming practices used to dispose of feces and urine and how animal byproducts sometimes wind up in feed.

When you do, you’ll think seriously about becoming a vegetarian, or about willingly paying more money to purchase meat products from sustainable agricultural operations where animal handling practices, feed additives and waste disposal are less the stuff of nightmares and more attractive to health-conscious buyers.

Kirby also recounts the not-so-well-told story of swine flu and North Carolina’s connection to the recent H1N1 epidemic. In August of 1998, a new bug was discovered at an N.C. hog breeding facility that defied the then-current vaccination against swine flu. State Agriculture Department lab techs discovered a “novel influenza virus” that had characteristics of swine flu, with three human flu genes and two bird flu genes – “a triple reassortment’ virus, a worrisome and unprecedented monster of human, hog, and bird flu.” The fear was that the new virus might one day make the jump to humans.

Ten years later, in 2009, a new swine flu outbreak in Mexico spread around the world, Kirby wrote. “Six of the virus’ eight genetic components would be identified as direct descendants of the 1998 pig farm outbreak in Sampson County.”

Despite the scares, Kirby doesn’t want to try to tell states how they should grow pigs. But the state and its people have a responsibility to recognize the dangers of some animal factory practices and insist on stronger protections of the land, air, water – and food supply.

LIBRARY JOURNAL

Kirby turns his investigative reporting skills to the human and environmental consequences of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The first section details how three concerned citizens-a North Carolina fisherman, a mother in a small Illinois town, and a Washington State grandmother-became activists after seeing firsthand how CAFOs negatively altered the environment around them. The second section frames the public health and ecological issues surrounding CAFOs by looking at how they have been treated nationally. VERDICT Unlike recent books on this topic that advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle (e.g., Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals or Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s The Face on Your Plate ), 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 and should be required reading for anybody concerned with how CAFOs are changing the nature of livestock farming in the United States.

INDIE NEXT LIST – AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION

ANIMAL FACTORY has been selected by the as one of the Indie Next List Notables for March 2010:  “Centering on three different tales of large-scale factory farming, David 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, and I can guarantee that you’ll never eat pork with a clean conscience again.”

LEONARD LOPATE – WNYC-FM, NPR Affiliate, New York City

An environment in which there are lakes of putrid slush, foul odors wafting in the breeze and entire rivers turning orange may sound like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, but it’s a reality for many people who live near industrial farms – the result of keeping thousands of animals in one place in order to keep prices low. In his latest book, ANIMAL FACTORY, David Kirby follows three unlikely grassroots activists who have opposed big agriculture, from small community protests to the national sustainable movement. 

FRANK STASIO – WUNC-FM, NPR Statewide Affiliate, North Carolina

Good journalists know that the key to hooking their audience on a complex social problem is to put a human face on it. And David Kirby is a good journalist. In his new book ANIMAL FACTORY Kirby puts a human face on the threat of industrial meat production to humans and environmental health. ANIMAL FACTORY tells the story of three people who became unlikely activists against large-scale factory farms and their accompanying stench, waste and cost.

MARK STEINER – WEAA-FM, NPR Affiliate, Baltimore

ANIMAL FACTORY is really a wonderful book, an easy read, and one that you often wrestle with. And I think that, for those of us who are thinking about the future of our world, well, this is one of those books you must read.

THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY – DURHAM, NC, By Max Maximov

We’ve all been exposed to the phrase “factory farming” so many times that our brains reflexively take a little nap on contact—the dark underbelly of the animal processing industry is far enough away from our daily lives that it’s easier just to ignore it. Feed lots, manure lagoons, warehoused chickens, the horror, the horror— when’s lunch? But a lot of the people who happen to live near these filthy, stinking torture chambers don’t have the option to just Febreze them from their consciousness.

The disastrous local effects of factory farming are the subject of a new book, Animal Factory, by David Kirby. Kirby visits three rural localities in which fed-up citizens are mobilized to take on an industry that has literally shit all over them, choking their streams with waste and filling the air with a sickening stench. He reports on the fight against mega-dairies and hog factories in Yakima Valley, Wash., and Elmwood, Ill., but the book begins and ends here in North Carolina. The hero of that story is Rick Dove, a Marine lawyer-turned-riverkeeper who witnessed the pork industry’s devastation of the Neuse River from his home on the shore in New Bern.

Kirby has assembled an amazingly detailed history of his subjects’ grassroots struggles. It’s an impressive feat of all-consuming, shoe-leather journalism, and his litany of unneighborly insults, like the “stinky, mocha-colored mist” that one mega-dairy inflicts on the property next door, packs a punch. But exhaustiveness is also the book’s biggest weakness, as outrages against man and nature sprawl over 450 pages and begin to repeat themselves, along with a few too many summarized panel reports and blow-by-blow retellings of community meetings. Kirby is also liberal in his use of the increasingly popular but crazy-making device of writing dialogue, entire pages of it, that he couldn’t possibly have witnessed (whither thou goest, nonfiction?).

Still, his dogged pursuit of the story has made him unquestionably expert on factory farming and the resistance movement thereof.

Investigative journalist David Kirby discusses the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching contamination they cause on our air, land, water, and food. In Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment he shows the role of industrial farming in the American food system, and tells the story of people who are fighting to restore sustainable farming practices and protect our natural resources.

EUGENE WEEKLY – Camilla Mortensen

Journalist David Kirby’s lengthy tome (exceeding 400 pages) seems to take its name and its criticism of tyranny based on hypocrisy from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Each of its three stories focuses on the efforts of families battling not only big business, but bureaucracy, weak enforcement and crooked politics in order to preserve their health and their way of life, threatened by massive animal farms and the manure they produce.

 Concentrated  Animal  Feeding Operation (CAFO) is the official federal designation for poultry and livestock operations, Kirby writes, “with more than one thousand ‘animal units,’” but they are more commonly known by the name “factory farm.” 

The author of a New York Times bestseller on autism and vaccinations, Evidence of Harm, Kirby takes on the evils of factory farming in three areas of the country: the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and the South. In each locale, the issue is different, from enormous dairy farms stinking up Washington’s Yakima Valley to lagoons of pig poo overflowing into rivers in North Carolina and causing massive fish kills, but the result is the same: environmental degradation, ill health and unhappy neighbors.

The biggest problem for those living near factory farms, aside from animal rights issues for pigs, cows and chickens crowded into small pens, is the manure. Thousands of “animal units” produce tons of poo. CAFOs get rid of the manure primarily by piling it up, storing it in “lagoons” and sometimes spraying the excess across their fields. This translates to air filled with poop particles and, thanks to leaky lagoons, contaminated waterways. As Kirby documents in cases across the country, rainy days can turn a full lagoon into an overflowing river of manure, and supposedly sealed pools can excrete waste into the watertable.

Rick Dove and other North Carolina river lovers find themselves literally up shit creek without a paddle when pig manure from CAFOs begins to kill off thousands of fish and sicken those who live, play and work near the Neuse River. Helen Reddout and her Yakima-area neighbors face dirty water and air redolent with cow feces. Karen Hudson and the townspeople of Elmwood, Ill., fight thousands of polluting pigs and, later, dairy cows. Each family struggles against the inexorable tide of waste and toxins.

Kirby avoids the classic conservationist (lefty) versus business dichotomy (Republican) in focusing on people like ex-Marine turned Riverkeeper, Dove, new to saving the rivers and the trees and the trials and tribulations polluters cause: “CAFO. The first time Rick heard a friend utter the term, he thought it must be some new kind of espresso place.” 

Or as a Washington farmer, fighting to keep more huge dairies from invading and destroying the air and water of his small rural community, puts it, “We’re your neighbors. We aren’t environmentalists.”

One of the biggest lefties in the book is Eugene-based attorney Charlie Tebbutt, then working for the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC), hired by farming families, like that of Helen Reddout, turned anti-CAFO activists in the Yakima Valley to aid them in their fight against encroaching factory farms. “‘Oh brother, get a load of this one,” Helen whispered to Mary Lynne. ‘I was expecting a lawyer in pinstripes. And what do we get? A hippie.’”

Kirby’s journalistic account isn’t trying to give an unbiased view of factory farming — his sympathies clearly fall on the side of the environment and small farmers — but his work is well-researched and thoroughly documented — so well documented in fact that some readers may at first be put off by the endnotes interjected throughout the book. 

Animal Factory is a valuable addition to the growing number of works like Food Inc. and The Omnivore’s Dilemma exposing the ills of mass-produced meat and dairy Kirby uses the stories of the three families, as they move from their local fights to the national scene, to draw readers — both those familiar with the factory farming debate and those new to it — into the morass of government regulations and lawsuits that surround the CAFO issue.

CHANGE.ORG – Obama Making Good Progress on Food Issues, by Katherine Gustafson

If you want to know about the worst practices of our food system, David Kirby is your man.

Author, most recently, of Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, Kirby has the inside track on all things factory farm, which is why Washington Post’s “On Leadership” column recently invited him to write a guest post about President Obama’s record on reform in this area.

Kirby’s verdict? “The administration is, in fact, taking serious measures to address the pollution and market dominance brought about by industrial animal production.”

While Obama’s progress doesn’t come close to matching up with his campaign promises, there’s a lot for us all to be happy about, including:

  • New EPA rules requiring factory farms to comply with the Clean Water Act;
  • Moves to enforce federal CAFO rules on chicken operations in the mid-Atlantic;
  • Identification of animal waste runoff as a “priority” for federal enforcement;
  • Closing USDA farm subsidy loopholes;
  • Holding hearings on competition in the agricultural sector;
  • New USDA rules for transparency in loans to contract poultry and pork producers;
  • Launch of the “Know Your Farmer” program connecting local farmers and consumers;
  • Scrapping the federal animal ID program that unfairly disadvantaged small farmers;
  • Revising organic meat-and-dairy regulations to the consumer’s advantage; and
  • Planning a “National Rural Summit,” to be announced soon.

Not bad, huh? Kirby certainly thinks so. “It’s a record of which [Obama] should be proud,” he writes. Unfortunately, though, the president and his people don’t feel much like talking about all they’re doing. They are oddly silent on all this progress, when they should be trumpeting their success from the roof of the White House.

Especially considering the public’s rapidly growing concern about the safety and health of our food supply, Kirby’s right is saying that “Obama should go out of his way to showcase his leadership in confronting the pollution and economic consolidation of animal factory farming.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:  David Kirby’s book, Animal Factory, is a beautifully written account of the danger industrial meat and dairy production represents to our health, environment and democratic process.  In a unique and captivating way, Kirby reveals the consequences of animal factories through the eyes of the citizen advocates who have fought the long and hard battle to civilize the barbaric and often criminal behavior of the meat barons. Rick Dove, Karen Hudson, Helen Reddout, Chris Peterson, Don Webb and others featured in the book are real American heroes. Their stories are compelling, true and engaging.  The time has come to end the greedy and destructive practices of animal factories. As the readers of Kirby’s book will learn, nature’s clock is ticking and much is at stake for the planet and all of its inhabitants. Each page of this book is filled with powerful information. It has all the makings of a number one best seller.

Alice Waters: Nature did not intend for animals to live and die in a factory assembly line.  In David Kirby’s startling investigation Animal Factory, he gives a human face to the terrible cost our health and environment pays for this so-called ‘cheap food’. This is a story that is seldom told and rarely with such force and eloquence.

Robert S. Lawrence, MD, Director, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Animal Factory, by David Kirby, documents the scandal of today’s industrial food animal production system in the same compelling way Upton Sinclair alerted Americans to the abuses of the meat packing industry in his 1906 The Jungle. The well being of animals produced for human consumption, the fate of rural communities, the health of farm workers, and the protection of the environment are daily compromised for the sake of profit.

Deirdre Imus: Ol’ MacDonald had a farm – until America’s corporate animal factories plowed it under, packing living, breathing, sensate creatures into sewage plant conditions for your gustatory pleasure.  Now, you’re next.  Bon appetit.

Steve Ells, Founder, Chairman & Co-CEO, Chipotle Mexican Grill: Hurray to David Kirby for exposing the horrific conditions that are so prevalent at America’s factory farms.  When I first confronted the realities of factory farming some ten years ago, I knew that I did not want Chipotle’s success to be based on the exploitation that I saw.  While few people actually have the chance to see firsthand where their food comes from, Animal Factory provides a vivid account of the system and the harm it causes.

Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and member of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production: This book puts a human face on a well hidden national scandal: the effects of large-scale raising of animals on the health and well being of farm workers and their families, local communities, the animals themselves, and the environment which we all share.  By examining how CAFOs affect the lives of real people, Kirby makes clear why we must find healthier and more sustainable ways to produce meat in America.

Bill Niman (Founder, Niman Ranch) and Nicolette Hahn Niman (Author, Righteous Porkchop:  Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms): The industrial production of farm animals is a grim saga of pollution, health risks, and animal misery.  Yet in Animal Factory David Kirby has put together an ingenious book that is highly readable and engaging.  The heroes of his book are fighting for a better America — one in which waters are safe to drink, air is safe to breathe, and traditional family farmers are the sources of our food.  Anyone who reads this book will be drawn into their cause.

David Wallinga, MD, Food and Health Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Animal Factory tells how big agribusiness’ industrial meat production is leaving our communities foul with unhealthy air, awash in untreated sewage, and increasingly buffeted by bacteria made resistant to the antibiotics. Anyone in search of why America’s health care system is going bankrupt will find part of the answer in these pages.

Frederick Kirschenmann, President of Kirschenmann Family Farms: David Kirby’ s new book points to a deeper story than may be apparent to some.   It is easy to blame the farmer, or blame the industry for the unintended consequences of our food system. But there are deeper systemic issues which give rise to these problems that we now need to address. Our “fast, convenient, and cheap” food system gave us benefits that many found praiseworthy.  But we failed to anticipate the unintended costs to health, to communities, and to the environment.  Perhaps it’s time to reinvent a food system that is resilient, affordable and health-promoting for both people and land.   Perhaps Kirby’s new book can serve as part of a wake-up call for us all to become food citizens to that end.

1 Comment for this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Related Posts

There is no related post.