Saturday, April 3, 2010

Animal Factory: A Book Review

About The Book:

Swine flu. Bird flu. Unusual concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Massive fish kills from flesh-eating parasites. Recalls of meats, vegetables, and fruits because of deadly E-coli bacterial 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 contaminates our air, land, water, and food. 

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

About The Author:

DAVID KIRBY is the author of Evidence of Harm, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.  


My Review:

This was a very enlightening book about the state of food production in America. Though I am Canadian, I imagine that there is not a lot of differences in the existence of "factory farming". For example, where I live there are many hog feedlots and I know from watching the news that there are routinely protesters and other activists that will speak out about the pollution from them.

This book pulled no punches and the author was very up front about his views, yet did not seem to push his views as the right one to listen to. In fact, Kirby admits he does still eat meat, just has made different choices in the way he eats. Kirby is simply making the reader aware of just how bad "factory farming" has become and how much the business of farming has changed. It is no longer the family farm as we once knew.

For a while now I have been researching ways to eat differently so that I know exactly what my family and I are eating. Though we have not completely switched to organic foods or free-range meats, we have made a great stride in doing so. I feel so much sadness when I hear of how many thousands of people (especially children) get ill and/or die because food is contaminated or from pollution caused from CAFO's and factory farming. Animal Factory by David Kirby has definitely opened my eyes and is making look at my food purchases in a much different light.

If you are looking to make changes in the way you purchase the food you eat, and you are trying to be more environmentally aware of the world around you, you must read this book. I warn you though, it is huge (over 400 pages) and has a lot of facts and statistics, but is well worth the education you will receive from reading it.

For more information, check out David Kirby's Animal Factory website.

BUY IT: You can purchase Animal Factory by David Kirby online through and It is also available through your favorite local bookseller.

***Thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review on this blog***


  1. Thank you for following Fugitive Firefly! Following you back :) Hope you have a great Easter!

  2. We are vegan here at our home and this really puts a finger on why- factory farming is insane!

    So sad!

    By the way, I'm stopping by from last week's friday follow-
    nice to meet ya-
    thanks for stopping by!