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.
- 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
- What do you think of artificial insemination and Sonia’s comparison of the practice to dystopian fiction?
- What did you learn about organic production?
Chapter Two: Egg Agony
- What do you think of battery cages?
- Do you think that cognitive dissonance and doublethink are good explanations for factory farmer psychology?
Chapter Three: Porkmaking by Machinery
- Are you concerned about antibiotic resistance and its potential impact on human health?
- What do you envision the future of deer to be?
Chapter Four: Trilling Turkeys
- How does it make you feel as a consumer to know that labels like “free-range” can be fraudulent?
- “Animal use has become synonymous with animal abuse,” Sonia states. What do you think of this?
Chapter Five: Crank Chicken
- What disconnect, if any, is there between the way factory farmers treat companion animals and the way they treat farm animals?
- What do you think of a feed supply chain based on rendered products?
Chapter Six: Animal Heaven
- How is the pastoral farm different from the farms Sonia has visited previously? Are the differences significant and meaningful?
- 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
- Why, in your opinion, has veal consumption plummeted over time when other forms of animal consumption haven’t?
- Do you find the term ‘confinement agriculture’ to be an accurate portrayal of agribusiness?
Chapter Eight: Slaughter Horror
- Slaughter workers often have physical and psychological issues as a result of killing animals. Should this concern us?
- If you had to kill animals yourself to eat them, would you?
Chapter Nine: The Wondrous Islands of Indonesia
- Do you think that flu viruses can have a devastating impact on humanity?
- What do you think of animal agriculture’s relationship with climate change?
Chapter Ten: Fast Food Nation Malaysia
- What role do you think fast food plays in the treatment of farm animals?
- 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
- How does meat consumption relate to class and status?
- How does agribusiness disregard human nature in addition to animal nature?
Chapter Twelve: The Monsters of Mexico
- 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?
- What do you think of the practice of feeding chicken excrement to cows?
Chapter Thirteen: Barefoot in Beautiful Belize
- What do you think of Mennonite culture and farming traditions? Do you think they have any place in the modern world?
- Have you ever been to a farmers’ market? If so, what did you think?
Chapter Fourteen: Ag-Gag America
- What did you learn about the American dairy industry?
- What do you think of the concept of “local”?
Chapter Fifteen: American Mountain Meadow
- From a health perspective, how do you feel about American dairy cows being injected regularly with hormones?
- 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?