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Publisher's Summary

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, best-selling author and 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 together 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.

©2010 David Kirby (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

By the New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm comes this dramatic exposé of factory farms and the dangerous public-health crisis created by some of the most powerful industries in America.
“As the readers of Kirby’s book will learn, nature’s clock is ticking and much is at stake for the planet and all of its inhabitants. Each page of this book is filled with powerful information. It has all the makings of a number one best-seller.” (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.)
“In David Kirby's startling investigation Animal Factory, he gives a human face to the terrible cost our health and environment pay for this so-called 'cheap food'. This is a story that is seldom told and rarely with such force and eloquence.” (Alice Waters)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Glenda
  • Burley, ID, United States
  • 03-29-11

Excellent

I would highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about the food we buy in the stores. Easy to listen to and I now look at meat in the stores in a whole different light.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Balanced view, until the end...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The author presented a very non-partisan critique of the indistrial food system throughout the book, until the end. The lack of "change" and the maintenance of the status quo in the current administration is excused, citing 2 wars and the economy. <br/><br/>Regrettably, every administration in the past 20 years has worsened this condition. For me, this detracted from the credibility of the entire book at the end.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anthony
  • Ardmore, PA, United States
  • 12-17-11

Same ol'story

What would have made Animal Factory better?

The text needs far more diversity in subject matter and far more depth in exploration.

Would you ever listen to anything by David Kirby again?

Yes, the narration is very good,

Which character – as performed by William Hughes – was your favorite?

NA

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Not much of anything. I am most devoted to humane treatment of animals but this book took us nowhere new. It's the kind of book that people who rant rather than think use to defend their position. Animals need to be properly raised and the environment needs to be cared for. But this book just contributes to the notion that animal wellfare is extremist, tree hugger nonesense.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Art
  • Sandy Springs, GA USA
  • 10-21-12

Too long, too anecdotal, & too much heat with too

What disappointed you about Animal Factory?

I was disappointed with the lack of science in the discussion of health concerns. For example, historically most cancer clusters have been a recognized statistical artifact (i.e. a sampling issue, not a health issue) in public health for many years. However, the author devotes many sentences itemizing these anecdotes and only a relatively brief allusion to the lack of causal association with CAFOs.<br/>There is a legitimate argument to be made regarding pollution and the cost to society, but it is obscured by many pages of health effects innuendo.

What didn’t you like about William Hughes’s performance?

He did not pronounce scientific names correctly.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Animal Factory?

Shorten family anecdotes in favor of a more thoughtful discussion of lack of health evidence, and legitimate debate on pollution, costs to society, and farm subsidies.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tim
  • United States
  • 07-19-12

Another Erin Brockovich

If Erin Brockovich wasn't became so mainstream in Hollywood, I can see the studio writing a screenplay for "Animal Factory" and Julia Roberts being the lead activist taking charge. The material that is presented is good, but after a while, it became too much, where I lost interest in listening another tragic stories about water pollution, cancer, animal waste, chicken farms, pig farms, and especially the court system and politics. The book looses its focal point when it goes on and on with the White House and politics with the entire food industry. Instead of reading about the animals, you are about to read the legal system. If you are looking for a straight read on what we consume, read "Eating Animals" or the classic "Fast Food Nation". They are much more linear to the subject.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful