Doing My Homework: 5 Days of Anti-Agricultural Reading

There are titles in food production and processing literature that are known to most. Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Marian Nestle- their writing has made a splash with many Americans, promoting vegan and vegetarian lifestyles.

The CAFO Reader includes excerpts from mutiple books, addressing customer concerns such as biological effects, financial concerns, GMO’s and antibiotic use, and sustainability. Edited by Daniel Imhoff, this book gives the reader the most bang for their buck. It includes writing from all of the most widely known authors and animal rights advocates. If you’re looking for a good, general resource that covers all animal markets and multiple concerns, this is it. CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. While farmers see the reasoning behind animal production practices, this book looks at the concerns of those who might confuse CAFO’s with “factory farms“.

My favorite part of this book is Part Two, “Myths of the CAFO”. It rolls through all of the myths surrounding CAFO’s and common thoughts relating to the reasons why indivduals might support animal production through CAFO’s. To understand why Americans have negative views about modern animal production, this is an extremely useful chapter. But to really get fired up, read Part Three- “Inside the CAFO”. The introduction, titled “What the Industry Doesn’t Want Us to Know” leads into a section that details the perceived negative production methods. The editor believes that the industry knows and accepts myths like the one that says antibiotic use is causing health problems for Americans and resistance to human medicines. They mention that farmers only care about profit, and care little about their animals, which is the mentality and untruth that we continue to work against with this blog.  

The book finishes with steps and processes the reader can do to work against animal production and ways to move to what they consider a more sustainable diet. While this book contains a lot of untruth and a lot of opinion pieces, it’s still an interesting book and extremely important to read when learning about American concerns with food production. The one thing myself and the editor do agree on is; do your homework. Research your concerns before making decisions or advocating against or for something.

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