A Splendid Table Staff Book Pick of the Year
"Estabrook, a reporter of iron constitution and persistence, has dug deep into the truth about the American pork industry without losing his sense of humor and humanity." —Christopher Kimball, Wall Street Journal
In Pig Tales, New York Times best-selling author of Tomatoland Barry Estabrook turns his attention to the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on personal experiences raising pigs as well as sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He shows how these intelligent creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight. But Estabrook also reveals how it is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully, benefiting producers and consumers—as well as some of the top chefs in America.
Provocative, witty, and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.
In the 2011 bestseller Tomatoland, Estabrook took on industrial agriculture, faulting it for destroying the crops we eat. In this fascinating volume, Estabrook turns his attention to hog farming and the natural history of the pig. Although he lives on 30 acres in Vermont and has some pig farming experience, Estabrook eschews the common "going back to the farm" storyline in favor of an investigative journalism tack. In elegant prose, he highlights various topics such as porcine intelligence, the pig's ability to destroy a landscape, hunting wild hogs, industrial hog farming, conditions in livestock processing plants, and sustainable "retro hog raising." Some of his points aren't ground-breaking he scorns factory farms that poison the pigs and the land, while praising local farmers who respect their pigs and their customers' well-being and offer tasty and healthier pork but he has an admirable ability to clearly portray each person with a connection to hog farming, swine research, or animal rights, creating a personal connections that go beyond facts and figures.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Excellent read! Engaging and eye-opening. A thought provoking review of the pig's intelligence, curiosity and natural behavior against a background of unnatural mass production of food, living conditions, penny-pinching priorities and radical change in farm animal treatment in our own back yard, behind closed doors. I think that in a next revision, an important aspect to cover is the fact that America is now mass producing pork on American land to feed China, severely impacting our environment for the benefit of Chinese consumption.