Reading Guide

The discussion questions below have been prepared to facilitate the use of Project Animal Farm in book clubs and classes. Click here to download the reading guide as a pdf document.

General Questions

  • What is the quest in Project Animal Farm? In your view, is the quest successfully achieved or thwarted?
  • What passages from the book strike you as especially illuminating and memorable?
  • Sonia often faces moral and personal dilemmas in Project Animal Farm. Which of them do you find to be most significant, and what would you have done in her shoes?
  • How would you describe the changes that have occurred in farm animal lives in the last half-century? What factors do you hold to be responsible for them?
  • What are some of the human health and environmental consequences of the way farm animals are raised today?
  • Is your connection with Project Animal Farm intellectual, emotional, or both?
  • What are some of the solutions that Sonia proposes? How probable do you think success is in the realm of animal agriculture?
  • Does the onus for change fall on producers, consumers, or both?
  • Have you read other books on similar topics? If so, how does Project Animal Farm compare to them?
  • Has Project Animal Farm informed your opinions or broadened your perspective? Has it altered your habits or your life in any way?

Questions by Chapter

Chapter One: Organic Dairy Cows

  1. What do you think of artificial insemination and Sonia’s comparison of the practice to dystopian fiction?
  2. What did you learn about organic production?

Chapter Two: Egg Agony

  1. What do you think of battery cages?
  2. Do you think that cognitive dissonance and doublethink are good explanations for factory farmer psychology?

Chapter Three: Porkmaking by Machinery

  1. Are you concerned about antibiotic resistance and its potential impact on human health?
  2. What do you envision the future of deer to be?

Chapter Four: Trilling Turkeys

  1. How does it make you feel as a consumer to know that labels like “free-range” can be fraudulent?
  2. “Animal use has become synonymous with animal abuse,” Sonia states. What do you think of this?

Chapter Five: Crank Chicken

  1. What disconnect, if any, is there between the way factory farmers treat companion animals and the way they treat farm animals?
  2. What do you think of a feed supply chain based on rendered products?

Chapter Six: Animal Heaven

  1. How is the pastoral farm different from the farms Sonia has visited previously? Are the differences significant and meaningful?
  2. If it is economically viable for a farm to be humane, then why aren’t more farms humane?

Chapter Seven: Red, White, and Bob Veal

  1. Why, in your opinion, has veal consumption plummeted over time when other forms of animal consumption haven’t?
  2. Do you find the term ‘confinement agriculture’ to be an accurate portrayal of agribusiness?

Chapter Eight: Slaughter Horror

  1. Slaughter workers often have physical and psychological issues as a result of killing animals. Should this concern us?
  2. If you had to kill animals yourself to eat them, would you?

Chapter Nine: The Wondrous Islands of Indonesia

  1. Do you think that flu viruses can have a devastating impact on humanity?
  2. What do you think of animal agriculture’s relationship with climate change?

Chapter Ten: Fast Food Nation Malaysia

  1. What role do you think fast food plays in the treatment of farm animals?
  2. Sonia notices that the word “fresh” is a marketing gimmick. How do you feel about marketing gimmicks as a consumer?

Chapter Eleven: Lion City Singapore

  1. How does meat consumption relate to class and status?
  2. How does agribusiness disregard human nature in addition to animal nature?

Chapter Twelve: The Monsters of Mexico

  1. Throughout the book, Sonia is surprised by the growth rate of industrially-bred chickens. Is it just her, or does this surprise you as well?
  2. What do you think of the practice of feeding chicken excrement to cows?

Chapter Thirteen: Barefoot in Beautiful Belize

  1. What do you think of Mennonite culture and farming traditions? Do you think they have any place in the modern world?
  2. Have you ever been to a farmers’ market? If so, what did you think?

Chapter Fourteen: Ag-Gag America

  1. What did you learn about the American dairy industry?
  2. What do you think of the concept of “local”?

Chapter Fifteen: American Mountain Meadow

  1. From a health perspective, how do you feel about American dairy cows being injected regularly with hormones?
  2. What do you think of Sonia’s farm matrix? And what do you think of the idea that large-pastoral farms can be an important solution for animal agriculture?