Animal Factory by Kirby, David

By Kirby, David

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And special thanks to Andrew Miller, former director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, and Thomas Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In Iowa, Lisa Whelan of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Simmons family of Kirkfield. In Michigan, Kathy Melmoth, John and Peggy Zachel, Lighthawk pilot Ed Steinman, local Sierra Club activist John Klein, and Floyd and Mary Lou McVay. In Arkansas, attorney Jason Hatfield and clients Beth and Mike Green, William and Virginia Vavakos, Whitney Green, Beverly and Tommy Johnson, Sue Mobley, Bob Smith, Carol Fidler, Wendy Wood-Wolber, Chris Rasco, and Lisa Stills.

Helen was not exactly enamored of cows, but she had always delighted at watching mothers and their calves gamboling about the green pastures of their valley home. She figured they were doing whatever it is that cows do, at peace in their world. The pastured animals seemed healthy and robust, walking erect with straight spines and heads held high. To Helen, they seemed happy. But the cows at the new milk factories were nothing like that. Instead, thousands of manure-smeared animals were jammed onto strictly confined tracts of land.

S. 2 Livestock and poultry are very big business in America. Like all industries, agribusiness has barons that wield extraordinary political and economic clout, with billions at their disposal to spend on K Street lobbying, local and national political campaigns, saturation advertising, feel-good PR (see: “California, happy cows”), and other means of creating a favorable business climate for themselves. And like many big industries, factory farms are major contributors to air, water, and land pollution.

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