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Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment Paperback – Bargain Price, March 15, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following crusaders against large-scale factory farms, investigative journalist Kirby delves deep to uncover the abysmal conditions of America's food and produce industry; Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are revealed to be the root cause of current health crises such as swine flu and massive recalls on grocery products. Kirby presents the human side of big-business blunders and coverups. William Hughes keeps the prose engaging by shifting his tone to underplayed yet believable characterizations. He presents the bulk of the material in a straightforward, newsworthy tone capable of presenting the facts without editorializing. An eye-opening account of an escalating problem. A St. Martin's hardcover. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*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 trios’ 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.--Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 31233rd edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312671741
  • ASIN: B00BFQCY70
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book isn't objective. However, the author doesn't pretend that it is. Reading it felt like having a discussion with someone who had a particular viewpoint and was trying to persuade me to agree with it. The persuasion wasn't the cheap shot kind, and there were no leaps of logic. Nor did the author rely on disinformation (though many of his sources are noted for doing so). And, the author did present opposing viewpoints.

On this particular topic, I don't think "balanced" is possible. What is "balanced" about dumping tons of sewage into public streams? Even so, the book does somewhat give us the side of the story that the CAFOs (Confined Animal Farm Operators) want to tell.

Over the years, I've read plenty on this topic of factory farms. The author's main points are correct. I disagree with his idea (implied, not explicitly expressed) that Democrats are good and Republicans are bad. I really don't see any difference between the Crips and the Bloods other than their colors and rhetoric.

Toward the end of the book, the author discussed the hope that small farmers and anti-CAFOs had in presidential candidate B. Obama. I find such hope and trust to be naive, as the man's voting record as a senator made it clear he wasn't watching out for anyone other than special interests. The golden rule is that those who have the gold make the rules. So where big money speaks, it creates a monologue. The rest of us are disenfranchised unless we go to extraordinary lengths to be heard.

The point I just made is evident in the various accounts given throughout the book. The frustration expressed by "activist" Rick Dove sums this up several different ways, several different times. I put "activist" in quotes because it's a loaded word that often gives the wrong impression.
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Format: Hardcover
As a person who thought herself to be fairly informed regarding food production, this book deepened my understanding of it. Not only does it present background on how CAFOs came to be, it clearly explains the effects the CAFOs have on our health and the environment, AND it takes us through HOW that happens.

Animal Factory reads almost like a novel. It is NOT a dry, facts-only, tough-to-read kind of book. It tells the stories of different farmers from throughout the country. It is one of those books that keeps you up late at night, all the while you are thinking, I **have** to get up early for work tomorrow, but yet, you keep reading. And keep on reading...

This book will increase your knowledge and understanding of industrial animal farms, whether it's pigs, cows, or dairy farms. When you do read this book, make sure to read the epilogue. There are some updates there relative to the Obama administration, and the animal industry.

This book changed my life. I am now more committed to safe food production and animal welfare! It has caused me to dig deeper and continue to research the health and environmental issues regarding food production in this country. I hope it will do the same for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of us are familiar with the classic book, Slaughterhouse and the movie Meet Your Meat which reveal the injustices to factory farmed animals. Perhaps we have seen a few snippets on [...], or read reviews of books by concerned animal activists.

But what you may not realize is that factory farms hurt people, too: entire communities, in fact. The book Animal Factory (a must read for all concerned -vores) reveals how the CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are destroying the local community's air and adding to global warming. The manure, traditionally a source of fertilizer, gets sprayed all over, leaving toxic residue on houses, cars,--everywhere! It pollutes rivers to the point that the fish die in droves. Fishermen get sores and memory lapses from the toxins! Overuse of antibiotics creates harmful bacteria that don't respond to antibiotics. Novel viruses like the H1N1 swine flu flourish and spread. The community loses jobs because illegal workers must be hired to cut costs.

The animal factories are caught in the system, as they need to show profit for shareholders. Yet, a commission's report cited in this book demonstrated that the only reason these factory farms are profitable is that the externalized costs (such as the environmental cleanup) are not paid by the farm, but by the public taxpayer. The corporations are taking advantage of the system and lax laws at the expense of the people.

Also, Americans demand cheap food. People in the USA spend about half the percentage of their incomes on food as they did in 1966. But cheap at the checkout doesn't translate into cheap in the long run.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVED THIS BOOK! The author finds a way to fit a ton of research, which is usually dry and hard to read, into a really readable story that made me not want to put it down!

Animal Factory does not aim to make a vegetarian out of the reader, something I think a lot of people will fear given the title, but on the contrary, it's more about what to look for when choosing healthy and sustainable meats, protecting the environment and people; and what can happen when the government fails, repeatedly, to do it's job.

I recommend this book to anyone who cares about their health, their community, the environment and loves a good David vs Goliath story of citizen activists. The true cost of factory farms is long-reaching and merely getting low-cost meat at the grocery can't be the only thing that matters.

Family farms matter, animal quality of life matters, the environment matters, health matters and sustainability matters. Buy this book and change your way of thinking, and be healthier for it.
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