- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Rev Sub edition (September 5, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517577518
- ISBN-13: 978-0517577516
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,648,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Animal Factories Paperback – September 5, 1990
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From the Inside Flap
This book raised a storm of controversy upon its original publication in 1980. Now authors Mason and Singer have updated their animal rights classic for the 1990s. More than 50 black-and-white photographs.
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In the Introduction to this 1980 book (revised in 1990), Jim Mason wrote, "this book is not intended to be an attack on farmers and the people who run factory farms. They are as much victims of factory technology... as are the animals... I am familiar with farm people and the feelings they have about making a living from their land. They are buffeted by economic developments that force them to try to push their animals to greater and greater productivity. It is a double tragedy that many farmers wind up losing their farm livelihood because the present trend culminates in a way of farming beyond their financial reach. This book, then, is about a dominant trend in perhaps our most basic economic activity."
They note that male chicks are destroyed "as soon as they crawled out of their shells and revealed their sex." (Pg. 5) The overcrowded pigs show their neurotic condition by biting each others' tails (Pg. 22), so the farmers "dock" (i.e., cut off) pigs' tails at birth; likewise, chickens are "debeaked" to prevent them from pecking each other (Pg. 39). They observe that heads, feet, and other inedibles of slaughtered animals are turned into fertilizer, soap, protein supplements, etc. "The meat industry tells us that nothing is wasted at the slaughterhouse, but all this really means is that they make extra money selling all of the nonedibles." (Pg. 113)
The hormones such as BGH given to dairy cows to increase their production may cause problems (such as premature growth in infants, or breast cancer in adults) when the milk is consumed by humans. (Pg. 103) Furthermore, the amounts of fecal and other waste produced attracts sparrows, starlings, and insects (particularly flies) and rodents, whcih can be a "major cause of litigation between factory farmers and their neighbors." (Pg. 123)
They note that the huge investment of capital and time required by the modern factory farms prevent farmers from running a "genuinely diversified, resource-balanced, ecologically integrated farming operation," and "those with small numbers of animals in labor-intensive systems find that they are making too little money for the effort and they sell off their animals. Thus the specialized operations proliferate and take over markets from small, diversified producers." (Pg. 145)
The most important issue for the authors, of course, is that "no good reason can be given for regarding animals as things. They are not things. They can feel pain. They can suffer frustration and boredom... Do we have the right to make animals live miserable lives just to satisfy our taste for a diet so rich in animal products that it is bad for our own health?" (Pg. 172)
This is a heartfelt, well-illustrated, and moving account of what really goes on behind the walls of factory farms...
It gets better. Once I posted the review, Amazon figured out it was Animal Factories, by Peter Singer. Well, at least my five stars weren't wasted.
It was appalling to read what happens to animals that are being raised for slaughter. Some of this book is difficult to stomach. While it may seem unbelievable, it is a true account. Male chicks are literally thrown in the garbage, others are debeaked with a hot iron, pigs are kept confined in tiny stalls.. so tiny that they cannot turn around. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who think that this kind of abuse can't possibly happen.. but it does. This is a life changing book.