July 2017 Update: Two-year anniversary of Project Animal Farm

I am excited to announce that July 15 marks the two-year anniversary of Project Animal Farm. We’ve come a long way together!

Project Animal Farm continues to touch the minds and hearts of readers. Just this summer, the book received its third accolade. It was selected as a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards. Previous accolades for Project Animal Farm include its selection as a runner-up for the 2016 New England Book Festival Award and a finalist for the 2015 Chautauqua Prize.

Thanks to your support, here are some further highlights for the book:

  • 40+ features, interviews, and reviews in magazines and newspapers.
  • 20+ TV and radio appearances.
  • 40+ events at conferences, festivals, universities, bookstores, and libraries across the United States and Canada.
  • Translation into traditional Chinese (released) and simplified Chinese (upcoming).

The topic of animal welfare and the environment is just as important today as it was two years ago. Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, has written a remarkable new book on the topic, titled Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were. The book offers a tour of some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species, and what we can do to save them. To describe it as well-written and well-researched is an understatement.

“We are perhaps the last generation that can change things without having to look back on a world where the wild things were…” Lymbery writes. “Ultimately, Dead Zone asks the question: What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our children?….This book explores what needs to change and what matters to us all.”

Each chapter focuses on a specific wild animal and how its fate has become unfortunately interlinked with human eating habits. The first chapter is about elephants. When we contemplate dangers faced by elephants, we think of poaching in Africa as the enemy, but palm oil in Asia is arguably more deadly. Around half a million African elephants exist in the wild; the Sumatran elephant, in contrast (pictured above), is critically endangered, its population down to less than three thousand. The reason for the disappearance of the Sumatran elephant? Palm plantations. Palm oil is a pervasive product in household goods and its by-product, palm kernel, is used in animal agribusiness: “Palm kernel helps drive more factory farming; as a readily available feed source, it tempts farmers to take animals off grass and into confinement feeding.”

Sumatran Elephants
Sumatran Elephants

Palm plantations were the first thing I noticed when I landed in Malaysia during my research for Project Animal Farm. I learned in Malaysia that fast food companies replace small traditional farms with massive factory farms and alter eating habits for the worse. You can read a BRAND-NEW excerpt from Chapter Ten: Fast Food Nation Malaysia here. The start of the chapter is below.

As the airplane descended, I did not see people. I saw palm trees. They stood to either side of the roads like giant pineapples, like leafy umbrellas. Their thin-fingered branches swayed in the breeze, and their trunks stood still, planting the entire country of Malaysia firmly into the world economy. Palm oil has, to Malaysia, been liquid gold, a waterfall that never runs dry, comparable to the oil and gas fields of the Middle East. Malaysia is the world’s largest exporter of palm oil.

“Lady, to me, palm plantations are good, bad, and ugly,” the airport taxi driver informed me as we sped past landslide warning signs on roads. “Good for economy, bad for environment, ugly for eyes.”

Continue reading the excerpt here.