After being laid off from her job as an investment banker in New York City, Farqui decides to volunteer on an organic dairy farm in Canada. But what she expects to be an uplifting, bucolic reconnection with nature turns out to be the opposite. She is shocked and sickened at the treatment of the cows and their filthy living conditions in an "organic" environment (a term she generously describes as nebulous), but that is nothing compared the harsh commercial environments in which chickens and pigs are raised and slaughtered. She learns that cramped conditions and a cruel indifference to the animals' basic needs are de rigueur on such farms, as is the vicious nonchalance with which they are slaughtered. Equally alarming, Farqui observes complicit indifference by the government inspector who was tasked to oversee (and then paid by) a sheep processing firm. Even more disheartening is the revelation that this approach is hardly confined to North America—she encounters similar conditions in Malaysia and Indonesia. Farqui thoughtfully explores the way in which this brutality and disregard of animal welfare is endemic in the industry on a global scale, and provides suggestions for realistic actions that readers can take to encourage change. The book begs a comparison to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, but Farqui's effort is not precisely a call to arms, as she takes a more studious approach—which doesn't lessen the impact of her findings. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/13/2015 Release date: 07/01/2015 Genre: Nonfiction
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