Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food

Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food

by Sonia Faruqi


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Finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards

Runner-up for the 2016 New England Book Festival Award

Finalist for the 2015 Chautauqua Prize (longlist)

Born out of a global expedition fearlessly undertaken by a young woman, Project Animal Farmoffers a riveting and revealing look at what truly happens behind farm doors.

Sonia Faruqi, an Ivy League graduate and investment banker, had no idea that the night she arrived at the doorstep of a dairy farm would mark the beginning of a journey that would ultimately wind all the way around the world. Instead of turning away from the animal cruelty she came to witness, Sonia made the most courageous decision of her life: a commitment to change things.

Driven by impulsive will and searing passion, Sonia left behind everything she knew and loved to search the planet for solutions to benefit animals, human health, and the environment. Over the course of living with farmers, hitchhiking with strangers, and risking her life, she developed surprising insights and solutions—both about the food industry and herself.

Lively and heartfelt, Sonia takes readers on an unforgettable adventure from top-secret egg warehouses in Canada to dairy feedlots in the United States, from farm offices in Mexico to lush pastures in Belize, from flocks of village chickens in Indonesia to factory farms in Malaysia.

Revelatory in scope, Project Animal Farm illuminates a hidden world that plays a part in all of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605987989
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 07/15/2015
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Sonia Faruqi is the author of critically acclaimed Project Animal Farm. A masterful storyteller, she pushes the boundaries of imagination in her debut novel, The Oyster Thief. She lives in Toronto and her website is

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Start of a Journey 1

A materialistic investment banker

Part 1 5

1 Organic Dairy Cows 7

Tethered, trained buttercups

2 Egg Agony 30

Cannibalism among crimson combs

3 Porkmaking By Machinery 58

Foam and Fire

4 Trilling Turkeys 81

The free-range fraud

5 Crank Chicken 95

The end of the beginning

6 Animal Heaven 118

Quality with a conscience

7 Red, White, and Bob Veal 140

Continement agriculture

8 Slaughter Horror 159

Unrelieved and needless suffering

Part 2 193

9 The Wondrous Islands of Indonesia 195

Cock-fighting and strawberry-picking

10 Fast Food Nation Malaysia 222

A nice big AC house for chickens

11 Lion City Singapore 249

Crispy pork belly

12 The Monsters of Mexico 256

A conversation with a veterinarian

13 Barefoot in Beautiful Belize 266

Living with Mennonite missionaries

14 Ag-Gag America 283

Glittering green mountains

15 American Mountain Meadow 309

The battle between pastoral and industrial

Conclusion: The Future is Already Here 327

A single garment of destiny

Epilogue: The End of Exploring 343

The apple of truth

Notes 353

Acknowledgments 355

Sources 357

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Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was mesmerized by Sonia's incredible journey through the world of industrialized agriculture. She intelligently explores the cruelty of factory farms. I am saddened by the short, confined lives of meat animals and angered by inappropriately genetically engineered chickens. I was reared in factory farm country. As a child I felt helpless to alleviate the cruelty. I want to thank Sonia for writing compassionately about people and animals. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Harley Farms! I also enjoyed her observations about what prompts change. I admire Sonia's ethics, her work and her courage.
SA More than 1 year ago
“My story began as a volunteer vacation at an organic farm, and became, without my knowing it, a global expedition into the deepest, darkest recesses of the international animal agriculture industry.” In recent years, factory farming and animal agriculture have found their place among academics, scholars, and concerned consumers as issues that merit political, ethical, and economic discussion, thanks largely to such writers as Michael Pollan and Jonathan Safran Foer. Sonia Faruqi’s book, Project Animal Farm, is not merely an addition to this growing scholarship, but a pioneer for examining the future of animal farming and agribusiness. Part memoir, part (accidental) investigative journalism, Project Animal Farm follows close to two years of visits around the world to cow, pig, and poultry farms, and conversations with the individuals and families behind them. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which chronicles Faruqi’s experiences visiting farms in Canada and her first forays into the world of factory farming. The reader follows Faruqi’s journey through her eyes, starting as a graduate of Dartmouth College and veteran of Wall Street to the physical and psychological trials of life on a factory farm, witnessing the horrors of slaughterhouse kill floors and the profit-driven, automated reality of the animal farming industry. Through her encounters with families and farm workers, she sheds light on the psychological disconnect not only between farm animals and consumers, but farm animals and factory farmers. Nonetheless, Faruqi manages to humanize the face of the factory farming industry (even if not the corporate dimension of agribusiness) by allowing the reader a glimpse into the lives of the people behind factory farm doors. Part two narrates Faruqi’s visits to farms in Malaysia, Indonesia, Belize, Mexico, and the United States, and the surprising (and not-so-surprising) similarities and disparities in farming practices around the world. Through Faruqi’s writing, the reader witnesses everything from the immaculately clean offices of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) to a women-led Mennonite pastoral farm in Belize, all the while learning about the globalization of agribusiness. She discusses the importing of Western farming practices and technology at the expense of local farmers and small pastoral farming in developing nations, as well as factory farming’s effects on global health. “It is the economic desire to cut costs and make profits that determines animal living conditions. It is politicians who choose to side with agribusiness, subsidizing factory farms and feedlots and passing ag-gag laws instead of regulations to protect farm animals, consumers, and the environment.” Throughout her book, Faruqi relates eye-opening, harrowing, and sometimes humorous encounters with farm animals and people alike, all while narrating her own observations about the nature of factory farming. The book is comprehensive and newly informative for those well read in the field, and accessible enough for anyone interested in food and where it comes from. Far from dispassionate, Faruqi is nevertheless able to offer the reader a nuanced and objective examination of the ways in which factory farming is damaging to humans, animals, and the environment, while offering solutions for a more ethical, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Project Animal Farm is an amazing tale of what truly lies behind the doors of the organic farming industry. I thought I was well informed about how such farms function until I read her book. It really opened my eyes to the actuality of it all, and I honestly feel that others need that same dose of reality. Being organic and sustainable is a hot topic these days and Project Animal Farm serves as a guiding light that could not come at a better time. In addition to being very informative, Project Animal Farm reads like a novel rather than a textbook. The language Sonia Faruqi uses is so descriptive and it allowed me to join her on her journey around the world. Everyone should read this book. We are living in an era in which nothing is as it seems. Project Animal Farm provides the transparency we have all been yearning for when it comes to the organic farming industry. Well done, Sonia!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The word 'animal' shares a root with 'animation' because it is animation—the affinity and proclivity for movement—that differentiates an animal from a plant, the latter of which is planted in one place." In Project Animal Farm, Sonia's movements are our movements. Sonia's descriptions of her travels, observations, hushed conversations, and encounters with animals of all kinds, are vivid and powerful. Her unique, honest stories show the importance of more humane practices for all involved in the path from farm to table. Really enjoyed this book. I can imagine Sonia's adventures as a documentary! Hopefully one is in the works. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Project Animal Farm sheds light on modern farming, and reveals the human and animal costs associated with much of the food we consume today.  Faruqi’s work covers serious ethical ground, but is presented with a light touch that does not sacrifice substance.  Readers are invited to travel with the author from fields to slaughterhouses, exploring how food is raised, harvested, and ultimately arranged on our plates.  A must-read for those concerned about the source of our food, and what it says about us.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You had me at Wall Street! From the moment I began reading the book, I was hooked. As a financial professional, I was excited and appreciated the transition Sonia had to make from Wall Street to Farms. Sonia’s world-wide journey investigating animal farms is fascinating. While she could have been incredibly scientific and data-driven (let’s not forget she was an investment banker) – the book pulls you in to her experience and insight on the farms, the system, and the players involved in the community while balancing it out with strong research backed by evidence. I would highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting months for this book to come out, and what a great surprise that it shipped early! I expected it to be good, but it exceeded by expectations by a mile. Great, suspenseful storytelling as you follow the writer on her journey around the world. Faruqi takes complex issues and boils them down into clear language that anyone can understand, and she has great facts which I was not previously familiar with, despite my interest in this topic.Given how much content there is to cover, the book is surprisingly quick to read. Eight countries and sixty farms... all covered in 300 pages that fly by. Will be re-reading it soon! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book, not only for those who are interested in animal welfare, and humane farming practices, but also everyone who engages in the simple activity of eating.  That is to say, I would recommend this book to everyone I know! This book is thoughtful, educational, readable, and extremely interesting. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest book I have read on animal suffering. The book is so well written that you feel that you are actually there to witness  the live events. The book also, more importantly, provides solutions which results in animal welfare, human well being in terms of health and moral values, and helps improving the environment. The book is well researched based on actual facts. MA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Project Animal Farm is a very readable and global account of the personalities, practices, and policies involved in the production of our food. The challenges and very practical solutions outlined in this book will really make you think about the most important daily decisions of what we eat!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first of its kind to take you behind the scenes of farms around the world, Project Animal Farm truly gives its readers a startling glimpse into a world shrouded from the public. This book is exceptional. It follows the brilliant and brave Sonia Faruqi as she travels to farms around the world, sometimes living there. The subjects touched upon range from animal welfare, to types of farms, to food, health, sustainability, and the environment. Reading like a novel, and teaching like a textbook, Project Animal Farm will surprise you, move you, excite you, and charge you to want to make a difference. A must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books on food that I’ve read so far! The book was funny, enlightening and easy to read. Project Animal Farm is the story of a young woman’s foray into the secretive world of animal farming. Sonia describes her decision to leave the lucrative and sexy field of investment banking to go investigate the practice of modern day agriculture. In many ways, she reminds me of myself – an urban professional woman who is increasingly concerned about the quality of food that we eat. However, she makes the brave decision to quit her job and make friends with farmers and their families all around the world and understand how animals are raised. In many instances, she puts her own life in danger and encounters many uncomfortable situations. What I liked most about the book was that it was mostly an objective view of farming, filled with factual descriptions of her findings and experiences. Sonia describes the good and bad of her investigations and refrains from casting her own biases in the book. The last chapter is the only place where she writes about her opinions and suggestions for improving the ethical treatment of farm animals. This book is a must-read for anyone who is remotely interested in learning about the important topic of food.