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Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry

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With a New Afterword by the Author Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years—particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation—have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly With a New Afterword by the Author Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years—particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation—have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly about what’s really taking place behind the closed doors of America’s slaughterhouses. In this new paperback edition, author Gail A. Eisnitz brings the story up to date since the book’s original publication. She describes the ongoing efforts by the Humane Farming Association to improve conditions in the meatpacking industry, media exposés that have prompted reforms resulting in multimillion dollar appropriations by Congress to try to enforce federal inspection laws, and a favorable decision by the Supreme Court to block construction of what was slated to be one of the largest hog factory farms in the country. Nonetheless, Eisnitz makes it clear that abuses continue and much work still needs to be done.


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With a New Afterword by the Author Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years—particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation—have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly With a New Afterword by the Author Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years—particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation—have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly about what’s really taking place behind the closed doors of America’s slaughterhouses. In this new paperback edition, author Gail A. Eisnitz brings the story up to date since the book’s original publication. She describes the ongoing efforts by the Humane Farming Association to improve conditions in the meatpacking industry, media exposés that have prompted reforms resulting in multimillion dollar appropriations by Congress to try to enforce federal inspection laws, and a favorable decision by the Supreme Court to block construction of what was slated to be one of the largest hog factory farms in the country. Nonetheless, Eisnitz makes it clear that abuses continue and much work still needs to be done.

30 review for Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry

  1. 5 out of 5

    pinktheory

    If everyone read this book, they would go vegan or at least vegetarian. But of course, many won't read this book. Why? I don't know. Because they like steak, because ignorance is bliss, or because they just don't care. This book chronicles the author's altruistic efforts to expose the inhumane treatment in slaughterhouses across the country. Her book covers 3 main aspects of slaughterhouses: (1) the inhumane treatment of animals (2) the terrible working conditions for slaughterhouse workers and If everyone read this book, they would go vegan or at least vegetarian. But of course, many won't read this book. Why? I don't know. Because they like steak, because ignorance is bliss, or because they just don't care. This book chronicles the author's altruistic efforts to expose the inhumane treatment in slaughterhouses across the country. Her book covers 3 main aspects of slaughterhouses: (1) the inhumane treatment of animals (2) the terrible working conditions for slaughterhouse workers and (3) the corrupt role of the USDA and how this affects meat as food. She interviews many slaughterhouse workers obtaining firsthand information on how animals are treated. Through Gail, we learn of cows being skinned alive, pigs being scalded alive and baby calves trying to escape their mother's womb as she is being torn open and killed. These examples are just a few that she uncovers. She also reveals just how badly humans are treated in these plants. These workers work in very horrible, dirty and dangerous conditions. Hate your job? Think about having to go to work every day and being scared that a 1500 lb cow may fall and crush you to death or that you may stab yourself while trying to kill an animal that is kicking you because it was not properly stunned. Or having to work long hours without a bathroom break and having to relieve yourself in your clothes. Many workers that are hired in slaughterhouses are immigrants. They are often afraid to speak out about bad working conditions for fear of losing their job because to them, seven dollars an hour is big bucks compared to the three dollar a day they may have been making. At the root of all this are people in the government who are deeply invested in the success of these slaughterhouse plants. So what if your meat has some feces on it? The USDA's solution to this problem is not to improve meat and slaughterhouse inspections but rather to just tell consumers to cook the shit out of their meat to ensure safety (pun intended). Though cooking the hell out of your meat still does not guarantee that the contaminant won't find its way onto your kitchen counter, your fingernails, the sink...you get the picture. Having poop in your meat still doesn't turn you off from it? Gail interviews many families whose children were afflicted with E coli (this is due to poop in meat). She describes in great detail what happens to these children's bodies as the E. Coli takes control over it. This was another part of the book that was very difficult to read. But the truth is that E coli breakouts from contaminated meat still occurs and takes with it our most vulnerable: the elderly and children. The USDA uses a stamp of approval that indicates "wholesome" meat but the fact is that "wholesome" may mean you are eating poop, diseased and contaminated meat, rust, urine...the list goes on. Gail's book shows that the USDA does not care about all this because of their corrupt ties to the meat industry. My review only scratches the surface of what Gail's book reveals. Open your mind, do the research and go vegan.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    So painful to read...but also so necessary. Go vegan and quit making excuses!!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    I highly recommend it but this is a very disturbing book. One would have to have no ability to empathize with humans or animals to not feel devastated after reading this book. It’s about the completely horrible conditions for both the farmed animals who are killed and for the slaughterhouse workers also.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.T.

    This one's a life changer. If it were required reading in highschool I'm fairly certain we'd have a nation of vegetarians. I tend to read a lot of books dealing with animal welfare, and many of them are dry and factual. This one reads like a thriller while simultaneously informing. This one's a life changer. If it were required reading in highschool I'm fairly certain we'd have a nation of vegetarians. I tend to read a lot of books dealing with animal welfare, and many of them are dry and factual. This one reads like a thriller while simultaneously informing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miss Scarlett

    Slaughterhouse is AMAZING!!! I have never cried while reading a book until I picked this one up. My Environmental Ethics professor gave me his copy in college in 2002. I started to read it and finished it in a matter of days. This book is approachable because it is easy to read and understand. Eisnitz doesn’t get bogged down in Philosophical arguments, but simply presents information. If you want to know about slaughterhouse conditions then you HAVE to read this book. If I wasn’t vegetarian befo Slaughterhouse is AMAZING!!! I have never cried while reading a book until I picked this one up. My Environmental Ethics professor gave me his copy in college in 2002. I started to read it and finished it in a matter of days. This book is approachable because it is easy to read and understand. Eisnitz doesn’t get bogged down in Philosophical arguments, but simply presents information. If you want to know about slaughterhouse conditions then you HAVE to read this book. If I wasn’t vegetarian before reading this book I probably would have stopped eating meat the moment I closed it. In fact, I read this book right around the time I became vegan and I imagine this book helped form that idea.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I had a rude awakening very recently concerning the health hazards as well as the immorality of eating meat, and as a result, i've been seeking out information on the meat industry and animal rights. This book is more or less the top of the stack as far as I'm concerned, being a new convert to vegetarianism. It exposes the gross crimes committed against animals every day by the thousands as they're drug through the slaughterhouse, being skinned, mutilated, tortured, beaten, shocked, and scalded I had a rude awakening very recently concerning the health hazards as well as the immorality of eating meat, and as a result, i've been seeking out information on the meat industry and animal rights. This book is more or less the top of the stack as far as I'm concerned, being a new convert to vegetarianism. It exposes the gross crimes committed against animals every day by the thousands as they're drug through the slaughterhouse, being skinned, mutilated, tortured, beaten, shocked, and scalded while still alive. Federal legislation "requires" humane slaughtering practices, but these are largely ignored as a result of USDA pressure and power over the meat plants and employees. The industry, being concerned only with the amount of production, looks the other way while innocent animals are subjected to gruesome and painful deaths so that we can put dinner on the table. The corruption doesn't just affect the animals; non-enforcement of health standards and practices in the slaughterhouses and packaging plants leaves us with meat products that are more often than not contaminated with fecal matter, bacteria, etc etc etc. Gail Eisnitz courageously investigates and uncovers these and other horrific injustices in the meat industry and presents them to us. Even if you're not particularly interested in animal rights, the governmental corruption this book demonstrates is absolutely astonishing, and the health risks being sold to us at the meat counter are of interest to ANYONE. You'll need a strong stomach to read this one, but it's absolutely worth it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is not an easy read. Although it is on my top 5 list of books that have touched me the most, it is also the book that changed my life. I do not recommend it unless you're truly prepared for what the book is about. When I think about the day I finished reading it, I realize how much I appreciate the hardships Gail A. Eisnitz had to go through to make this book happen. Although it is a hard read, it was a necessary read for me to understand what really goes behind the doors of the U.S. Meat I This is not an easy read. Although it is on my top 5 list of books that have touched me the most, it is also the book that changed my life. I do not recommend it unless you're truly prepared for what the book is about. When I think about the day I finished reading it, I realize how much I appreciate the hardships Gail A. Eisnitz had to go through to make this book happen. Although it is a hard read, it was a necessary read for me to understand what really goes behind the doors of the U.S. Meat Industry. I will always be grateful to this author.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lucy White

    I read this about a year after I went vegan.. it shocked me, and I cried through a large proportion of it. Shocking, but everyone must read it. Great account of untold horrors in the animal agricultural industry. Go vegan, please.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    cannot overstate how important this book is, how urgent it is that this story--these facts-- be addressed

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    If you read only one book about the meat industry, make it this one. Slaughterhouse is a book about the other reality behind our demand for cheap meat, and lots of it: horrifically abused animals, permanently disabled workers, and dangerously dirty product. While animals are a point of focus of this book, I wouldn’t call Slaughterhouse an animal rights or vegan work. Rather, it’s an overall study of the modern day meat-processing factory—but don’t be surprised if the animal rights and vegan argu If you read only one book about the meat industry, make it this one. Slaughterhouse is a book about the other reality behind our demand for cheap meat, and lots of it: horrifically abused animals, permanently disabled workers, and dangerously dirty product. While animals are a point of focus of this book, I wouldn’t call Slaughterhouse an animal rights or vegan work. Rather, it’s an overall study of the modern day meat-processing factory—but don’t be surprised if the animal rights and vegan arguments of others make more sense to you after closing the back cover. Even those who don’t feel a whit of conscience about the animals’ ordeals will be affected by the stories of children who suffer tremendously after being poisoned by pathogen-infected meat. Much of Eisnitz’s work focuses on her investigations of alleged abuses of the federal Humane Slaughter Act. What she finds are not only violations, but cruelty so severe as to be not only inhumane, but inhuman. While intentional violations of the federal Meat Inspection Act carries heavy penalties, violations of the Humane Slaughter Act carry none at all. Eventually, the author concludes: “Only when I’d seen the mockery meat inspection officials had made of their primary mandate—ensuring meat and poultry wholesomeness—did I really understand just how low a priority humane slaughter was.” But what of the meat industry’s much-ballyhooed veterinarians and consultants? USDA inspector Dave Carney gives a more sobering view: “[Vets are] reduced to paperwork. The physical location of the plants where the animals are stuck and bled is a very uninviting work environment, the vets hardly ever go there.” Another inspector adds: “Most [vets] are from foreign countries. They’ve never had a job as good as this one, and they don’t want to rock the boat.” Most animal industries, indeed, like to boast that they have veterinarians on staff, playing on the public’s images of Dr. Doolittle and James Herriot. But really, as Carney points out, think about irony of vets who took a vow work to save animal life working in a place whose whole reason for existence is to kill as many animals as possible. The main purpose of vets in a slaughterhouse is to glance carcasses for visible signs of disease, not to tend to living animals. Another passage makes reference to a consultant with a “national reputation as a slaughter expert.” Although her visits to check up on animal handling practices were supposed to be unannounced, a slaughter plant worker confirmed they had two days advance notice to amp up the power on the stunners and get rid of metal pipes and other objects used to beat uncooperative animals. While the author does not name names here, it’s pretty easy to guess who this nationally-known slaughter expert is. Of course, all of these sloppy slaughter practices take a human toll as well, as was documented later, and perhaps more famously, by Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation. The slaughterhouse employees’ accounts of slavish conditions will truly make you ponder if anything has improved since The Jungle. And as for the consumer who ultimately gets the meat, I leave you with this quote from Tom Devine, legal director of the Govt Accountability Project: “Twenty years ago…it wasn’t a reckless, foolhardy act for a family to eat medium-rare hamburgers or steak for Sunday dinner. Something has drastically changed if the USDA is warning people that federally approved beef has to be cooked to a crisp in order to avoid food poisoning tragedies. So, what’s changed? Obviously, the meat’s a lot dirtier.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Collins

    For anyone who does not know anything about what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: animals are slaughtered) this book would represent a strong and much needed dose of reality. Reading this book would be a good start, but should not be the last one a sincere, thinking and moral human being should read. For anyone who already has some notion of what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: it really is worse than you thought) this book will most likely end up being avoided. Willful ignorance is mora For anyone who does not know anything about what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: animals are slaughtered) this book would represent a strong and much needed dose of reality. Reading this book would be a good start, but should not be the last one a sincere, thinking and moral human being should read. For anyone who already has some notion of what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: it really is worse than you thought) this book will most likely end up being avoided. Willful ignorance is morally very dangerous, but for many people it is an acceptable way of living their lives. For anyone who truly knows what goes on and has made a decision to do something about it they will unfortunately find sufficient wiggle room for justifying to themselves a personal decision to "always buy free-range." As a vegan--which is far more than merely following a strict vegetarian "diet", I cannot give this book a high rating. The author successfully pulls together all the facts necessary to make a strong case for abolition, but at every opportunity actively avoids doing so. Similar to "Food Inc" this book helps the myth of "happy meat" (See http://www.humanemyth.org/) live another day.

  12. 5 out of 5

    P.S. Winn

    This is an important book to read especially now that the President of America wants to roll back regulations. In a meatpacking plant things are going on that are hard to believe and should never happen. This book will shock most people, but most of all it should enrage you and make you want to find ways to stop the atrocities.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Todd Myers

    Modern day look into slaughterhouses, not only what is done to the animals, but how the workers are treated as well. This modern day true to life version of The Jungle is a must read, for those that truly wish to be informed of what is going on and where their food comes from and how animals are treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Think the USDA and government has your best interests in mind? This book will change that for you, it's all about production and profit, screw the consumer, Modern day look into slaughterhouses, not only what is done to the animals, but how the workers are treated as well. This modern day true to life version of The Jungle is a must read, for those that truly wish to be informed of what is going on and where their food comes from and how animals are treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Think the USDA and government has your best interests in mind? This book will change that for you, it's all about production and profit, screw the consumer, workers, and worse of all screw the animals! That is the cold hard truth!

  14. 5 out of 5

    OmniBen

    (Zero spoiler review) I didn't have any intention of reviewing this book, at least not currently. it's been a few years since I've read it (twice) and I didn't think the distance and time since would allow me to lucidly or accurately describe just how this book made me feel and the impact it still can have, despite its age. And besides, its already rated and reviewed well enough without me throwing my two cents in with the rest. Though in the last twenty four hours, I've had to say goodbye to one (Zero spoiler review) I didn't have any intention of reviewing this book, at least not currently. it's been a few years since I've read it (twice) and I didn't think the distance and time since would allow me to lucidly or accurately describe just how this book made me feel and the impact it still can have, despite its age. And besides, its already rated and reviewed well enough without me throwing my two cents in with the rest. Though in the last twenty four hours, I've had to say goodbye to one of my goodest good boys. My dear golden retriever Occy. The darkened swell of emotions that grief brings out in us is such a powerful, albeit unpleasant force. And whilst I sit here in my desolation, I felt that despite the time between reads, maybe now really was the best time to review this book. Not necessarily to provide an accurate accounting of the book, I'm sure others could do that better in my current state, but in as raw and honest way as I can, describe the reasons such a book exists, and why everyone really should read it. I've heard it said many times to me that some people couldn't read a certain book because of the way it made them feel. I am someone who has never really understood that sentiment. I understand from a literal sense. And I understand not everyone thinks like me. But no book has ever been too graphic, too confronting, too 'real'. I still feel that way. But Slaughterhouse has come as close as any book likely will into making me not want to keep reading. I like to say, If Earthlings or Dominion was a book, this would be it. I may never have stopped reading it, but I think I stopped a few times, took a deep breath, despairing at being human, and then continued on. This book like, no other, highlights the near infinite chasm between our beliefs and our actions, between kindness and apathy disguised as hatred. Between peace and perpetual violence. No book greater exemplifies the extent to which we have turned off that fundamental part of ourselves, and the horrors that inevitably follow when we do. If you can read this and go back to your steak dinner afterwards, then I pity whatever has led to such indifference. I loved my Occy boy so very much. And in grieving for him. Sitting there, physically nauseous, then blank, then numb. It highlighted with stark clarity, the way great truth will occasionally grace us from time to time. Not that I ever forgot why I'm vegan, or the importance of my individual choices. But to remind me why I am who I am, think how I think, and act how I act, and what extends from that. The billions of animals who die today will pass from this earth without a shred of the love or compassion with which Occy left this earth with. But at the end of the day, those billions of lives are only lost due to the simplicity of a single, individual choice. Hopefully you will make the choice to read Slaughterhouse, and use that to make some different choices thereafter. A must read, no matter how difficult. 4.75/5 OmniBen and Occy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! We can no longer stick out heads in the sand and pretend that the choice to eat meat, or not eat meat is simply a politically based decision. Every adult needs to read this book and understand the health hazards associated with eating the meat that comes from these disgusting, disease laden facilities. The USDA is NOT there to protect YOU! They are promoting their own interests and to think such an agency would put the welfare of people over money and power is silly... but KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! We can no longer stick out heads in the sand and pretend that the choice to eat meat, or not eat meat is simply a politically based decision. Every adult needs to read this book and understand the health hazards associated with eating the meat that comes from these disgusting, disease laden facilities. The USDA is NOT there to protect YOU! They are promoting their own interests and to think such an agency would put the welfare of people over money and power is silly... but they know we are willing to believe what they "feed" us. This is one of the most horrific, compelling, and important books you can read if you want to do something for your health, and that of your family. Not only that, but to recognize and understand our moral responsibility to this Earth. God gave us Dominion over the earth- that does NOT mean the power to abuse and mistreat it when it suits our gluttony and our addictions. Next time you eat chicken, think about them being scalded and burned while still alive... think about Mother cows CRYING for their babies, who will be the veal at a fancy restaurant. Think about these animals being beaten, shocked, and skinned while still ALIVE. Is that something you could stomach? Do you REALLY know how much animal feces or bacteria is in your food? Would it bother you to know that contaminated meat was thrown back on the table to be ground up into BABY FOOD, and other ground meat products? The corruption in the USDA and other government agencies in bed with the dairy and cattle industries will astound you... and the risk we are put under is enough to make anyone ill. You'll need a strong stomach for this one, but as I said, one of the most important books you can read for your health... and KNOWLEDGE IS POWER...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Benage

    Yet another life changer on this topic... I can say that for me I didn't really learn anything new about the torturous ways we treat animals many call food but that is solely due to the fact that I have read numerous books on this topic. For many who haven't they will find numerous examples they likely were not aware of in regards to the treatment of animals in factory farms. For me, because of the numerous books I have read about the treatment of animals, the most interesting part of this book wa Yet another life changer on this topic... I can say that for me I didn't really learn anything new about the torturous ways we treat animals many call food but that is solely due to the fact that I have read numerous books on this topic. For many who haven't they will find numerous examples they likely were not aware of in regards to the treatment of animals in factory farms. For me, because of the numerous books I have read about the treatment of animals, the most interesting part of this book was discovering the involvement of the USDA with factory farming. I did already know some of the ways the USDA has not only encouraged factory farming throughout the years but has also turned a blind eye to what was really happening but, I discovered so much more in this book. This book does a wonderful job explaining the various ways that the USDA has COMPLETELY ignored the way factory farming was treating animals and our health. The author walks the reader through this topic with numerous examples backed up with factual example after factual example. If you believe that the USDA is interested in American's health and protecting it you will be appalled by the decades of examples of exactly the opposite.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aaron the Pink Donut

    A very hard book to read but very informative and well researched. I am reasonably knowledgeable about the litany of Auschwitz like horrors that permeate the modern, industrial farm factory, but this book enlighten me to a few practices I wasn’t aware of. The edition I read was a slightly revised version from 2006 that included a new afterword. The use of Horse meat for human consumption and the classifying of Rabbits as poultry were news to me. Every one really should read this book. Yet anothe A very hard book to read but very informative and well researched. I am reasonably knowledgeable about the litany of Auschwitz like horrors that permeate the modern, industrial farm factory, but this book enlighten me to a few practices I wasn’t aware of. The edition I read was a slightly revised version from 2006 that included a new afterword. The use of Horse meat for human consumption and the classifying of Rabbits as poultry were news to me. Every one really should read this book. Yet another prime example of how deregulation mixed with greed undermines the safety of the public. Horrible.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Canales

    This book is truly life-changing. I don't see how anyone can read this and continue to support the meat industry guilt-free. I was aware of abuse of animals in slaughterhouses, but not to this extent. And it's not only the abuse that is shocking -- the way the workers are treated and the quality of meat that is being sold to the public is abhorrent. I literally felt sick to my stomach as I was reading the way the meat is handled and "inspected." The USDA should be ashamed -- if I had little trus This book is truly life-changing. I don't see how anyone can read this and continue to support the meat industry guilt-free. I was aware of abuse of animals in slaughterhouses, but not to this extent. And it's not only the abuse that is shocking -- the way the workers are treated and the quality of meat that is being sold to the public is abhorrent. I literally felt sick to my stomach as I was reading the way the meat is handled and "inspected." The USDA should be ashamed -- if I had little trust in them before reading this book, I have none now. Everyone should read this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in maintaining and improving the health of their family! The filth is shocking and has forever guaranteed me of a meat-free diet!!! (Don't trust the FDA or USDA!!!) I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in maintaining and improving the health of their family! The filth is shocking and has forever guaranteed me of a meat-free diet!!! (Don't trust the FDA or USDA!!!)

  20. 4 out of 5

    ☆♡☆

    This was a difficult but necessary read. I had to keep putting the book down after a few chapters because of the down right evil treatment the animals experienced. But this book talks about more than that, the whole system is corrupt. Greedy people in power, within the meat industry and in government, are willing to risk the well being of animals, employees, and consumers to make as much money as possible. This book is packed with information from a long journey Gail went on to reveal the true c This was a difficult but necessary read. I had to keep putting the book down after a few chapters because of the down right evil treatment the animals experienced. But this book talks about more than that, the whole system is corrupt. Greedy people in power, within the meat industry and in government, are willing to risk the well being of animals, employees, and consumers to make as much money as possible. This book is packed with information from a long journey Gail went on to reveal the true colors of the American meat industry in the 90s. The meat industry is immensely bigger today than when this book was written. I recommend everyone read this to understand the past and to see how the same problems continue to plague the meat industry to this day.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christine Wang

    A captivating, eye-opening, and jaw-dropping read, all at once. I was aware of slaughterhouse horrors before picking this book up, but I never knew just how bad things really were, in the meat and dairy industry. Slaughterhouses and factory farming plants truly define Hell. This book was published over a decade ago, yet much of what she writes of still holds true today (although things are slowly changing as the public becomes more and more aware). The Afterword did give me some hope. Appalling A captivating, eye-opening, and jaw-dropping read, all at once. I was aware of slaughterhouse horrors before picking this book up, but I never knew just how bad things really were, in the meat and dairy industry. Slaughterhouses and factory farming plants truly define Hell. This book was published over a decade ago, yet much of what she writes of still holds true today (although things are slowly changing as the public becomes more and more aware). The Afterword did give me some hope. Appalling how much of this country runs on greed, and how much the wool is pulled over consumers' eyes. I, like most people, grew up eating meat and dairy and thought nothing of it. But, my SO, mother, and I had started making a shift toward more plant-based eating a few months before I heard of this book, and this just pushed me further into incorporating more plant based and vegan foods into my diet, than ever before. My body can no longer tolerate more than small amounts of dairy, and I eat very little meat nowadays, and only if there's very limited vegetarian choices available (at certain restaurants, social events, etc). My heart truly hurt for the poor animals who live miserable existences, only to die such a violent death. No living being deserves to suffer the way they do. My God, some of the things that workers described brought me close to tears. And the filth, grime, and diseases that run rampant is enough to turn anyone off meat. I was also one of those who thought all workers in these factory farms were monsters, but very few of them actually take any pleasure in what they do. Many of them act this way because of supervisor's orders, and poor oversight from government agencies. Workers constantly facing the threat of losing their job if they don't keep the line moving, having a high rate of bodily injury, denied bathroom breaks, cast aside once they're of no more use to the industry, just like the animals. Much kudos to Ms. Eisnitz for her perseverance and determination in exposing the truth, and even putting her own health on the line. We need more people like her, who aren't just content to sit around and wait for things to happen, but to make change happen. This book is so well-written that it almost reads like a novel, and keeps you turning the pages. She also speaks much of her own experiences during this time. Recommend this book for anyone who eats, period. But especially those who frequently eat meat, cares about where their food comes from, who loves animals, and those who support worker rights. If you really must eat meat, do your research make sure you know where it comes from. Don't just blindly trust the USDA and FDA to do what's right...for animal welfare, for the environment, and most importantly, for your own health. Always remember, cheap meat comes with a heavy price to pay.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim White

    Harrowing, yet a necessary read. I often feel like the meat industry is comparable to slavery. Right now, in the world I live in, it’s deemed ok for humans to treat these animals with absolute disrespect towards their lives...but in years to come...this will turn around completely as more people open their eyes and have their perceptions and beliefs challenged. The media, and the meat industry, will eventually have to follow suit. I’d love to see this happen in my life time but I doubt I will ge Harrowing, yet a necessary read. I often feel like the meat industry is comparable to slavery. Right now, in the world I live in, it’s deemed ok for humans to treat these animals with absolute disrespect towards their lives...but in years to come...this will turn around completely as more people open their eyes and have their perceptions and beliefs challenged. The media, and the meat industry, will eventually have to follow suit. I’d love to see this happen in my life time but I doubt I will get to 😔 All I know is that my own feelings toward what I class as “food” have been flipped on it’s head and I’m happy it has! I don’t want to contribute to this anymore by consuming meat or dairy. I wonder how differently we’d eat if a) we saw the truth as depicted in this book, and b) we had to hunt, catch and kill own own food. The truth is, we would eat hardly any meat or fish (or none at all) and survive off of the land!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    I read an earlier version of this book, back in 2004 I think. I believe it is one of the most important books that anyone will ever read and something everyone should read. Every person I have ever loaned it to has come back with the same feelings. It is a disgusting, disturbing industry. I couldn't eat chicken for 2 weeks after reading this book and still cry when I see a pig truck pass me on the highway. I am not a vegetarian (though I will NEVER eat veal), and never will be, but I feel that t I read an earlier version of this book, back in 2004 I think. I believe it is one of the most important books that anyone will ever read and something everyone should read. Every person I have ever loaned it to has come back with the same feelings. It is a disgusting, disturbing industry. I couldn't eat chicken for 2 weeks after reading this book and still cry when I see a pig truck pass me on the highway. I am not a vegetarian (though I will NEVER eat veal), and never will be, but I feel that this book shows why everyone SHOULD be a vegetarian - at least until our meat industry is held to higher standards and is much less corrupt. We were made stewards by God and that does include a utilitarian side and use of animals. It does not, however, mean that we can be cruel to animals for our own benefit. i recommend Dominion by Matthew Sulley for that topic...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Interestingly, the author never mentions anything about "what can be done" to stop the animal abuse, worker abuse, and contamination of meat products that are so common in today's slaughterhouses. At the end of the book, she says that she is so happy that she got a job at the Humane Farming Association (HFA), which enabled her to write this book, which enables us to learn the facts so we can take action. But she doesn't offer even one suggestion for what kind of action should be taken. In a way, Interestingly, the author never mentions anything about "what can be done" to stop the animal abuse, worker abuse, and contamination of meat products that are so common in today's slaughterhouses. At the end of the book, she says that she is so happy that she got a job at the Humane Farming Association (HFA), which enabled her to write this book, which enables us to learn the facts so we can take action. But she doesn't offer even one suggestion for what kind of action should be taken. In a way, it's kind of refreshing. She just provides all her information, and there, that's it. Here's the link to HFA. http://www.hfa.org/about/index.html This book leaves me with a big question mark feeling. I feel like it just scratches the surface when it comes to government / corporate collusion and corruption.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    i gave this title a lower rating only because the narrative is sensational and it isn't as skillfully written as it could have been. that said, there are not many books written about this subject, so the investigative work that eisnitz has done is immensely valuable. it is a fast-paced, gory read that will likely leave you feeling indignant and insulted by yet another instance of a federal agency witholding information from the public and surreptitiously covering up mistakes. another thing that i gave this title a lower rating only because the narrative is sensational and it isn't as skillfully written as it could have been. that said, there are not many books written about this subject, so the investigative work that eisnitz has done is immensely valuable. it is a fast-paced, gory read that will likely leave you feeling indignant and insulted by yet another instance of a federal agency witholding information from the public and surreptitiously covering up mistakes. another thing that makes this book unique is that for the first time, actual slaughterhouse workers are interviewed and speak publicly about the policy abuses, inhumane treatment of animals, and unsafe working conditions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauri

    Seriously, I don't know how to say this any plainer: every adult needs to read this book. Putting your head in the sand when it comes to how your food animals are raised and killed puts you in grave danger and keeps ensuring the outrageous torment of MILLIONS of animals, annually. This book is not some animal rights story blown out of proportion. It is the most compelling and important expose on food to have been written since Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". Even if you don't care about the anima Seriously, I don't know how to say this any plainer: every adult needs to read this book. Putting your head in the sand when it comes to how your food animals are raised and killed puts you in grave danger and keeps ensuring the outrageous torment of MILLIONS of animals, annually. This book is not some animal rights story blown out of proportion. It is the most compelling and important expose on food to have been written since Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". Even if you don't care about the animal suffering, you HAVE to read about what is going into your food. The USDA's primary function is to promote the interests of the agriculture industry, it is not to enforce humane laws or to protect your health.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

    This was a fantastic book. Gail Eisnitz has produced an outstanding and irrefutable account of the truth behind America's meatpacking industry. One can only wonder what, if anything, has changed since her book was published; an updated edition would be much appreciated. Gail Eisnitz has done a terrific job of balancing what some might regard as an agenda (she was employed by the Humane Farming Association during her research for this book) with the reporting of meticulously documented facts. Any This was a fantastic book. Gail Eisnitz has produced an outstanding and irrefutable account of the truth behind America's meatpacking industry. One can only wonder what, if anything, has changed since her book was published; an updated edition would be much appreciated. Gail Eisnitz has done a terrific job of balancing what some might regard as an agenda (she was employed by the Humane Farming Association during her research for this book) with the reporting of meticulously documented facts. Any charge of bias is simply unfounded as the level of effort she put into her investigation is beyond reproach. This is a fast-paced read that doesn't disappoint.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    This is a very good book if you are a meat eater. This book made me almost want to go vegan. I am not going to be a vegan after this book but it does make me want to change my diet. It's graphic and can be a hard read for those who either have a weak stomach or can not stand details of animals being abused and killed. It's very well written and one of the few books that explore this issue (other than "The Jungle"). This is a very good book if you are a meat eater. This book made me almost want to go vegan. I am not going to be a vegan after this book but it does make me want to change my diet. It's graphic and can be a hard read for those who either have a weak stomach or can not stand details of animals being abused and killed. It's very well written and one of the few books that explore this issue (other than "The Jungle").

  29. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    It isn't an easy read because it's repetitious. Perhaps because the author visited so many factories and documented similar inhumane treatments everywhere. I didn't know abt. how the animals died on their trip to the factories - how they froze to the sides of the metal trucks in the winter and were ripped off even though they were still alive. Conditions have changed just a teeny bit for the better. We still have much work to improve this whole industry. It isn't an easy read because it's repetitious. Perhaps because the author visited so many factories and documented similar inhumane treatments everywhere. I didn't know abt. how the animals died on their trip to the factories - how they froze to the sides of the metal trucks in the winter and were ripped off even though they were still alive. Conditions have changed just a teeny bit for the better. We still have much work to improve this whole industry.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Jordan

    This book is fantastic. It's written almost like a novel, and Eisnitz oozes the likes of Erin Brockovich. The secrets revealed in this book are shocking. I was close to tears by the end. This true story, about the true treatment of animals in US factory farms, is horrifying, disturbing, and genuinely traumatising. This should be a compulsory read for all. This book is fantastic. It's written almost like a novel, and Eisnitz oozes the likes of Erin Brockovich. The secrets revealed in this book are shocking. I was close to tears by the end. This true story, about the true treatment of animals in US factory farms, is horrifying, disturbing, and genuinely traumatising. This should be a compulsory read for all.

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