Pig Tales provides an eye-opening investigation of the commercial pork industry and presents an inspiring alternative to the way pigs are raised and consumed in America.
Barry Estabrook, author of the best-selling Tomatoland and a writer of “great skill and compassion” (Eric Schlosser), now explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Through these stories shines Estabrook’s abiding love for these remarkable creatures. Pigs are social, self-aware and playful … not to mention smart enough to master the typical house dog commands of “sit, stay, come” twice as fast as your average pooch. With the cognitive abilities of at least 3-year-olds, they can even learn to operate a modified computer. Unfortunately for the pigs, they’re also delicious to eat.
Estabrook shows how these 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, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, such as one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It’s possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America.
Provocative, witty and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.