A bred-and-born city girl, 25-year old Ivy League graduate Sonia Faruqi escaped to farm work after a failed job on Wall Street. One farm led to another, and soon what started as a one-week break from job hunting became an obsession.
Eventually, her insatiable desire to understand what was happening behind the agribusiness industry’s closed doors led her to eight different countries and almost every type of animal factory.
The horrific cruelty and unsanitary conditions she witnessed drove her to seek ways to protect farm animals, the environment and the health of consumers. She captures her experiences in Project Animal Farm.
She was taught how to (although she avoided the actual doing):
Artificially inseminate a cow with her hand
Catch fleeing chickens and return them to their overcrowded battery cages
Become proficient with a stun gun on a slaughterhouse kill floor
In one disturbing revelation, Faruqi was observing a broiler house containing 30 thousand young chickens. When she moved on to the next shed, the attendant told her its much larger inhabitants were actually just four days older than their neighbors.
The difference in size shocked her — and with good reason.
Commercial broiler chicken producers have genetically manipulated their birds’ growth rate so much, Faruqi writes, that:
“Poultry Science Journal has calculated that if humans grew at the same rate as present-day chickens, a human would weigh more than 600 pounds in eight weeks.”
And they’ve done without a single thought for the chicken’s comfort or health.
Project Animal Farm has given me a much clearer understanding of the methods agribusiness has stooped to in satisfying its meat- and dairy-addicted customers. So I wasn’t at all surprised to read famed animal rights advocate Peter Singer’s opinion of Faruqi’s effort:
“I thought I knew everything there is to know about modern animal production, but I learned many new things from this very readable book, and you will, too.”