Sonia Faruqi / Pegasus / 336 pages
Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food tells the true story of Sonia Faruqi, a young investment banker who embarks on a journey—leaving her New York life behind for what she thought would be an idyllic experience on an organic farm. However, her world was turned upside down when she witnessed some common agriculture practices that are far from idyllic. As Sonia continues on her farming exploration, she sees many of the injustices suffered by farm animals—most resulting from intensive farming practices that, even on some organic farms, pay little heed to animal welfare.
The book jumps between Sonia’s personal farming expedition and facts/statistics about animal farming in the United States, Canada, and several Latin American and Southeast Asian countries. She writes of agriculture trends, labeling falsehoods, and agricultural laws and regulations from around the world.
At the end of her exploration, Sonia has an epiphany. She advocates for eight solutions—among them, a transition to large-scale pastoral farms, meaningful inspections, and accurate marketing of products—that would improve animal welfare and the environment. While they are noble ideas, they are not particularly new. Nor does Sonia’s book provide a viable way to implement these solutions.
Still, Project Animal Farm is a valuable read for anyone interested in animal agricultural practices across the globe. Overall, the book provides a glimpse into the intricacies of several farming systems, but focuses most on the dismal world of factory farming. It does so while also sharing Sonia’s unique, heart-felt personal journey through the world of animal agriculture.