The most recommended books about intensive animal farming

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to intensive animal farming, and here are their favorite intensive animal farming books.
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Book cover of Eating Animals

Shadi Bartsch Author Of The Aeneid (Translated by Shadi Bartsch)

From my list on the meaning of life and the books that helped me find mine.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professor of Classics at the University of Chicago, I’m conditioned to inquire into the meaning of life! But also, I was raised in many different countries and cultures—the UK, Iran, Fiji, Indonesia, Switzerland, the US, plus recent stints studying in China—so I’ve sampled a stewpot of worldviews. The result is that I have a passion for this topic. But I am no truth-telling guru myself (except that I know that dogs are GOOD). I can only speak about the meaning of life for me and hope it will make sense to others. These books have helped me construct that meaning.

Shadi's book list on the meaning of life and the books that helped me find mine

Shadi Bartsch Why did Shadi love this book?

What is the meaning of life? We could take the question further by disposing of our blinkers and asking, what is the meaning of the other lives that may not look like ours? These lives consist of the millions of animals who die in the factory farms built to conceal their suffering and turn them into fungible objects, not lives. Safran’s book is an eye-opening exposition of how we have enslaved animals for food that we don’t even need in the 21st century—damaging ourselves and the environment in the process. One meaning of life: the value of letting other lives have meaning too.

By Jonathan Safran Foer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eating Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To reduce risk of pandemics for ourselves, our gaze needs to turn to the health of animals. Discover Jonathan Safran Foer's eye-opening and life-changing account of the meat we eat.

'Should be compulsory reading. A genuine masterwork. Read this book. It will change you' Time Out

Eating Animals is the most original and urgent book on the subject of food written this century. It will change the way you think, and change the way you eat. For good.

Whether you're flirting with veganuary, trying to cut back on animal consumption, or a lifelong meat-eater, you need to read this book.…

Book cover of Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm

Lisa Jean Moore Author Of Our Transgenic Future: Animals, Genetic Modification, and the Will to Change Nature

From my list on animals and humans who use and misuse them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist and professor. I’ve written several books about human and animal intersections. From bees to horseshoe crabs to spider goats, I’ve channeled my childhood fascination with animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, into research projects. Over the past two decades, I use qualitative research methods that put me in direct contact with multiple different species, gently handling the animals as a way to get to know them and understand them. I’m particularly interested in how humans make animals meaningful as companions, research subjects, raw materials, and living factories. I believe we must move past our own speciesism, or our biases that reify human superiority, to fully embrace living in a multispecies world. 

Lisa's book list on animals and humans who use and misuse them

Lisa Jean Moore Why did Lisa love this book?

Did you know a single pig can be made into one thousand different products? This ethnography explores the ways humans extract profit from hogs, and simultaneously it is a commentary on the effects of industrialization. I thought I knew the problems with factory farming, but clearly I had only a surface understanding. Plus, rather than just dismissing humans as driven by craven or evil intentions, Blanchette is able to express compassion for the humans who are caught up in these systems of animal exploitation.  I learned so much about thinking and writing about animals and humans from reading this book. A flawless ethnography.   

By Alex Blanchette,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Porkopolis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1990s a small midwestern American town approved the construction of a massive pork complex, where almost 7 million hogs are birthed, raised, and killed every year. In Porkopolis Alex Blanchette explores how this rural community has been reorganized around the life and death cycles of corporate pigs. Drawing on over two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Blanchette immerses readers into the workplaces that underlie modern meat, from slaughterhouses and corporate offices to artificial insemination barns and bone-rendering facilities. He outlines the deep human-hog relationships and intimacies that emerge through intensified industrialization, showing how even the most mundane human action,…

Book cover of Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family

Diane Kelly Author Of Paw Enforcement

From my list on doggedly determined dogs undaunted by disability.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being “mommy” to a deaf dog has taught me so much about canine disabilities, and how intelligent and capable dogs can be despite their limitations. I enjoy reading about other people who have gone through similar experiences with their dogs. These animals don’t let their disabilities stop them from leading full, fun lives. With their determination and positive attitudes, disabled dogs make wonderful role models!

Diane's book list on doggedly determined dogs undaunted by disability

Diane Kelly Why did Diane love this book?

Knowing I have a deaf dog, a reader sent me this non-fiction book, thinking I’d enjoy it. She was right! The author is very open and honest about the challenges she faced taking on a dog who was not only deaf but also blind. It was incredibly heartwarming to see Piglet grow from a fearful pup into an icon who inspires schoolchildren - and adults! - to adopt a can-do attitude. I liked that the author raised issues of animal welfare in the book, including the unfair treatment of animals used for medical experiments as disposable equipment and the horrific treatment of animals in factory farming. The book addresses many aspects of the human relationship to other creatures, and what we owe to animals who are at our mercy. 

By Melissa Shapiro, MIM Eichler Rivas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Piglet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of the beloved New York Times bestsellers Marley and Me and Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love, "a beautiful, inspiring" (Laura Schroff, New York Times bestselling author) memoir about empathy, resilience, kindness, and an adorable deaf blind pink dog.

When veterinarian Melissa Shapiro gets a call about a tiny deaf blind puppy rescued from a hoarding situation in need of fostering, she doesn't hesitate to say, "yes." Little does she know how that decision will transform her, her family, and legions of admirers destined to embrace the saga of the indomitable pink "puppy with a…

Book cover of Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement

Robert Zimdahl Author Of Agriculture's Ethical Horizon

From my list on beginning to think about the ethics of agriculture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Several years ago I gave a paper - Human experiments in Teratogenicity - a brief exploration of the use of herbicides in the Vietnam. I was accused of and being a traitor to my discipline and siding with the environmentalists who wanted to diminish herbicide use in agriculture. I wasn't guilty as charged. The accusation encouraged me to explore agriculture's values and ethical foundation. I have continued to explore the ethics of agriculture, question the ethics of the whole agricultural enterprise. I've written, learned, and thought about the application of moral philosophy to agriculture. The book selected will help readers think about the questions and guide those interested in pursuing the application of moral philosophy to agriculture.

Robert's book list on beginning to think about the ethics of agriculture

Robert Zimdahl Why did Robert love this book?

One of the very important agricultural issues is treatment of animals especially those grown in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Singer was among the very first who wrote about how animals are treated by the agricultural enterprise and by people. He was among the first to tell us that animals can suffer and therefore we must consider our moral obligation to any creature that can suffer.

Animal science has made more progress than most other agricultural disciplines in changing the way animals are treated. There is still a long way to go.

By Peter Singer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Animal Liberation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How should we treat non-human animals? In this immensely powerful and influential book (now with a new introduction by Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari), the renowned moral philosopher Peter Singer addresses this simple question with trenchant, dispassionate reasoning. Accompanied by the disturbing evidence of factory farms and laboratories, his answers triggered the birth of the animal rights movement.

'An extraordinary book which has had extraordinary effects... Widely known as the bible of the animal liberation movement' Independent on Sunday

In the decades since this landmark classic first appeared, some public attitudes to animals may have changed but our continued abuse…

Book cover of Practical Ethics

David Edmonds Author Of Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers

From my list on read before you turn 25.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Edmonds is a philosopher, podcaster, and curry fanatic. A distinguished research fellow at Oxford’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, he is the author of many books including Wittgenstein’s Poker (with John Eidinow), The Murder of Professor Schlick, Would You Kill The Fat Man?, and Undercover Robot (with Bertie Fraser). If you eat at his local restaurant, The Curry Paradise, he recommends you order the Edmonds Biriani.

David's book list on read before you turn 25

David Edmonds Why did David love this book?

There’s a common prejudice that philosophy has nothing to do with the world in which non-philosophers live. I read Practical Ethics as an undergraduate and it came as a revelation. In crystal-clear prose, and with compelling logic, Singer addresses many issues in applied morality – abortion, capital punishment, charity, animal rights. Although some of his conclusions are radical, they’re hard to dissent from. Not long after reading the book I became a vegetarian. I haven’t eaten meat since.

By Peter Singer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Practical Ethics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For thirty years, Peter Singer's Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised and updated all the chapters and added a new chapter addressing climate change, one of the most important ethical challenges of our generation. Some of the questions discussed in this book concern our daily lives. Is it ethical to buy luxuries when others do not have enough to eat? Should we buy meat from intensively reared animals? Am I doing something wrong if my carbon footprint is above the global average? Other questions confront us as concerned…

Book cover of The Space Merchants

Gary Gibson Author Of Echogenesis

From my list on cynical takes on space colonisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I was exposed to the same influences as most other SF writers of my generation – Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov. But I was also exposed to the more nuanced, more psychologically realistic work of writers like Harlan Ellison, Norman Spinrad, Ursula K. LeGuin, and J.G. Ballard, none of whom shared the unquestioning techno-utopianism of an earlier generation of writers. They taught me not to automatically respect power or authority, and to always question ideas that might otherwise be taken for granted. It’s an approach that’s carried over into my own writing ever since.

Gary's book list on cynical takes on space colonisation

Gary Gibson Why did Gary love this book?

Pohl drew heavily on his experience as an advertising copywriter in this, perhaps his most famous novel co-written with C.M. Kornbluth. Although not directly set on a colonized world, it’s easily one of the darkest takes on the subject as the protagonist, a ‘star-class copysmith’ is given the job of selling people on the idea of emigrating to Venus…while carefully avoiding the reality of Venus being barely, if at all, habitable, with nothing to promise but a harsh existence and generations of toil before the planet can be fully terraformed.

By Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Space Merchants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a vastly overpopulated near-future world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge transnational corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and boasts some of the world's most powerful executives.

Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that all the products on the market improve the quality of life. However, the most basic elements are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

The planet Venus has just been visited and judged fit for human settlement, despite its inhospitable surface and climate; colonists would have to…

Book cover of The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor

Larissa Zimberoff Author Of Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley's Mission to Change What We Eat

From my list on people who love to eat (in the future).

Why am I passionate about this?

My world is motivated by food: what to eat, when to eat, where to eat. At least since I was 12, when I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. This is when I learned the “boring” things like carbs, fat, protein, and fiber. Scrutiny of my diet, and the food I ate, became a passion and finally my career. Not only in what I buy at the grocery store or put on my plate, but in the topics I write about. For me, food comes with its life-sustaining compliment: Insulin. How will techno foods be processed in my body? This question drives me to understand future foods at a molecular level, and then to share what I’ve learned in my writing. 

Larissa's book list on people who love to eat (in the future)

Larissa Zimberoff Why did Larissa love this book?

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to stop eating a bag of chips? It’s because this “stuff” has been engineered to make us overeat.

Why do food companies want us to eat more than we need? Because our over-caloric consumption equals profits. It’s complicated stuff but Mark Schatzker illuminates what’s behind this crafty food engineering in an eminently readable book about food and flavor science.

If you’re like me you’ll be happy to learn the underpinnings of our food systems, even when it’s not so flattering.

By Mark Schatzker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dorito Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively argument from award-winning journalist proving the key to reversing health crisis lies in the overlooked link between nutrition and flavour: "The Dorito Effect is one of the most important health and food books I have read" (Dr. David B. Agus, New York Times bestselling author).
We are in the grip of a food crisis. Obesity has become a leading cause of preventable death, after only smoking. For nearly half a century we've been trying to pin the blame somewhere, fat, carbs, sugar, wheat, high-fructose corn syrup. But that search has been in vain, because the food problem that's…