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The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply Paperback – October 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312325363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312325367
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There are probably few surprises in this exposé of American agribusiness; if you haven't read horror stories about megafarms and slaughterhouses in Fast Food Nation, you've undoubtedly heard animal rights activists talking about the deplorable conditions in which cattle, poultry and hogs are processed "from semen to cellophane." To these tales Midkiff adds an overwhelming flood of animal feces (usually referred to in much more pointed terms), from frightened cattle that soil themselves in the slaughterhouse and don't get fully cleaned to liquefied manure that seeps into the land of neighboring small farms. Using formulaic left-wing parlance, Midkiff points out how giant food corporations wield political influence to save themselves from reform—ensuring, for example, that despite their size they will continue to be classified as farmers exempt from EPA regulation. He also advocates buying from local farms that practice "sustainable agriculture" as a means of resisting corporate meat without going vegetarian. (A useful appendix offers contact information for farmer's market associations across the country.) The book doesn't quite follow through on the claim to depict "the decline of the American diet"; although it certainly reveals the contamination risks in our meat and eggs, not much is said about the direct health consequences for consumers. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Ken Midkiff has written a serious and trenchant critique of modern livestock farming and the merciless spirit that drives it on. He has also pointed the way out, by advancing clear and decent standards in the care of animals."
- Matthew Scully, author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

"Don't just gag -- act!"
- Jim Hightower, author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush

"The factory meat industry has polluted thousands of miles of America's rivers, killed billions of fish, pushed tens of thousands of family farmers off their land, sickened and killed thousands of U.S. citizens, and treated millions of farm animals with unspeakable and unnecessary cruelty. But, as Ken Midkiff shows in this wonderful book, the meat barons' most frightening threat is to American democracy. "
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President, Waterkeeper Alliance

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Frank Chen on May 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever wondered how McDonald's can offer a 39 cent cheeseburger, this book will help you understand the bizarre economics that makes a cheeseburger cheaper than a bottle of water.

The author makes the case for buying meat and dairy products from small farms committed to sustainable farming practices. He succeeds with me, though I've subscribed to this view ever since reading Fast Food Nation and Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf -- so I didn't need much convincing.

I'm not sure how effective he'll be with a less friendly audience. While he brings a few effective stories and statistics to bear, he also brings the rhetoric of the stereotypical wild-eyed environmentalist (Mr. Midkiff is the Sierra Club Water Campaign director).

An example from his introduction: "Corporations care about people only to the extent that people are consumers are the corporate product...Feeding a hungry world? That is only a justification for fouling the air and water. Running family farmers out of business; ruining the economies of small towns; destroying the rural quality of life; mangling, dismembering, and maming employees; producing foods that are unsafe and unhealthy? When confronted with some of the unintended consequences of the industrial mode of production of meat, milk, and eggs, the corporate spokesman hauls out things like the following...'It is unfortuante, but it must be kept in mind that this is the way things must be done if we're going to feed the world.'"

I would have preferred less shrill rhetoric and more hard data. In my opinion, the author doesn't further his cause with his inflammatory writing style: the facts surrounding the modern meat and dairy industries are appalling enough to speak for themselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Nelson VINE VOICE on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Meat You Eat is a book that had to be written. It is a quick reading book on the dangers of "corporate farming" and how corporate farming affects the surrounding areas, the community, the environment, the workplace, the animals, and America's food supply.

The book addresses the commonplace corporate farm and how they provide food from birth to the grocery store. The book discusses "Big Pig", "Big Chicken and Big Egg", "Big Milk", "Big Beef", and "Big Fish". I feel the author does an excellent job at the beginning of each chapter, explaining the background of each industry in an unbiased manner. The author then goes into some valid reasons as to each industries faults.

Most industries are guilty of torturing animals in one form or another, whether it be pigs fighting from being confined too closely or chickens whose feet become entangled in wire and can not move their entire lives. Some animals are not euthanized properly and proceed through the slaughterhouse before actually dying.

The author also talks about how companies monopolize an industry from fertilization of animals to processing and delivery to retailers. The result is a company that exploits the desperate and the unfortunate, whether they be farmers, townfolk, or immigrant workers. The monopolies, their power, and loopholes in the law allow these farms to pollute at will, literally driving people from their homes with little if any recourse.

I think the book does a good job of addressing the downfalls of current "big" farming methings; however, I felt this book has its shortcomings. A gifted author can describe a battlefield so vividly, the reader feels like the person next to them died in their arms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Lau on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you read "Fast Food Nation", you will like this book. There are similarities, but also many differences. The book refers to fish farm and gets into the economics of agricultural business. A great read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mufasa asafum on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In The Meat You Eat, Ken Midriff provides an in-depth analysis of the process of creating many animal products. Midkiff uses proven facts and precise statistics to back up his overall argument against corporate farming. Midkiff also uses many of his own detailed experiences and interviews from ordinary people. Their testimonies add validity to The Meat You Eat.

Midkiff shows how corporate farming is a danger to the environment, the economy, and the environment in a step by step structure that is easy to follow. He shows the reader that corporate farming has turned farming into a dirty big business concerned only with profit. Midkiff says that the owners of factory farms don't care about how the negative affects to the environment, workers, animals, workers, and the American consumer.

Rather than promoting vegetarianism, he advocates buying organic animal products or buying them from a small local farm. Midkiff says buying from local farmers will hurt factory farms and benefit the environment, animals, and the local farmers themselves.
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