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 invaded by foul odors 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.