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Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 ratings  ·  165 reviews
With a New Afterword by the Author

Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years—particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation—have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly
Paperback, 328 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Prometheus Books (first published 1997)
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 ·  1,475 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vegan, non-fiction
If everyone read this book, they would go vegan or at least vegetarian. But of course, many won't read this book. Why? I don't know. Because they like steak, because ignorance is bliss, or because they just don't care. This book chronicles the author's altruistic efforts to expose the inhumane treatment in slaughterhouses across the country. Her book covers 3 main aspects of slaughterhouses: (1) the inhumane treatment of animals (2) the terrible working conditions for slaughterhouse workers and ...more
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
So painful to read...but also so necessary. Go vegan and quit making excuses!!!!
Lisa Vegan
I highly recommend it but this is a very disturbing book. One would have to have no ability to empathize with humans or animals to not feel devastated after reading this book. It’s about the completely horrible conditions for both the farmed animals who are killed and for the slaughterhouse workers also.
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This one's a life changer. If it were required reading in highschool I'm fairly certain we'd have a nation of vegetarians. I tend to read a lot of books dealing with animal welfare, and many of them are dry and factual. This one reads like a thriller while simultaneously informing. ...more
Miss Scarlett
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Slaughterhouse is AMAZING!!! I have never cried while reading a book until I picked this one up. My Environmental Ethics professor gave me his copy in college in 2002. I started to read it and finished it in a matter of days. This book is approachable because it is easy to read and understand. Eisnitz doesn’t get bogged down in Philosophical arguments, but simply presents information. If you want to know about slaughterhouse conditions then you HAVE to read this book. If I wasn’t vegetarian befo ...more
Amanda Hupe
If you aren’t a vegetarian before reading Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by Gail A. Eisnitz you will be after you read this. WARNING: These details are very difficult to read and very graphic. “Carol Taylor” is the undercover name of Gail A. Eisnitz. She gets as close as she can to the terrifying abuses inflicted on animals and does what she can to bring the abusers to justice. One of the industries she investigates is c ...more
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is not an easy read. Although it is on my top 5 list of books that have touched me the most, it is also the book that changed my life. I do not recommend it unless you're truly prepared for what the book is about. When I think about the day I finished reading it, I realize how much I appreciate the hardships Gail A. Eisnitz had to go through to make this book happen. Although it is a hard read, it was a necessary read for me to understand what really goes behind the doors of the U.S. Meat I ...more
Lucy White
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this about a year after I went vegan.. it shocked me, and I cried through a large proportion of it. Shocking, but everyone must read it. Great account of untold horrors in the animal agricultural industry. Go vegan, please.
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
I had a rude awakening very recently concerning the health hazards as well as the immorality of eating meat, and as a result, i've been seeking out information on the meat industry and animal rights. This book is more or less the top of the stack as far as I'm concerned, being a new convert to vegetarianism. It exposes the gross crimes committed against animals every day by the thousands as they're drug through the slaughterhouse, being skinned, mutilated, tortured, beaten, shocked, and scalded ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you read only one book about the meat industry, make it this one. Slaughterhouse is a book about the other reality behind our demand for cheap meat, and lots of it: horrifically abused animals, permanently disabled workers, and dangerously dirty product. While animals are a point of focus of this book, I wouldn’t call Slaughterhouse an animal rights or vegan work. Rather, it’s an overall study of the modern day meat-processing factory—but don’t be surprised if the animal rights and vegan argu ...more
Andrew Collins
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: vegan
For anyone who does not know anything about what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: animals are slaughtered) this book would represent a strong and much needed dose of reality. Reading this book would be a good start, but should not be the last one a sincere, thinking and moral human being should read.

For anyone who already has some notion of what happens in slaughterhouses (spoiler: it really is worse than you thought) this book will most likely end up being avoided. Willful ignorance is mora
P.S. Winn
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an important book to read especially now that the President of America wants to roll back regulations. In a meatpacking plant things are going on that are hard to believe and should never happen. This book will shock most people, but most of all it should enrage you and make you want to find ways to stop the atrocities.
Todd Myers
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Modern day look into slaughterhouses, not only what is done to the animals, but how the workers are treated as well. This modern day true to life version of The Jungle is a must read, for those that truly wish to be informed of what is going on and where their food comes from and how animals are treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Think the USDA and government has your best interests in mind? This book will change that for you, it's all about production and profit, screw the consumer, ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
(Zero spoiler review)
I didn't have any intention of reviewing this book, at least not currently. it's been a few years since I've read it (twice) and I didn't think the distance and time since would allow me to lucidly or accurately describe just how this book made me feel and the impact it still can have, despite its age. And besides, its already rated and reviewed well enough without me throwing my two cents in with the rest. Though in the last twenty four hours, I've had to say goodbye to one
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! We can no longer stick out heads in the sand and pretend that the choice to eat meat, or not eat meat is simply a politically based decision. Every adult needs to read this book and understand the health hazards associated with eating the meat that comes from these disgusting, disease laden facilities. The USDA is NOT there to protect YOU! They are promoting their own interests and to think such an agency would put the welfare of people over money and power is silly... but ...more
Lindsey Benage
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Yet another life changer on this topic...

I can say that for me I didn't really learn anything new about the torturous ways we treat animals many call food but that is solely due to the fact that I have read numerous books on this topic. For many who haven't they will find numerous examples they likely were not aware of in regards to the treatment of animals in factory farms.

For me, because of the numerous books I have read about the treatment of animals, the most interesting part of this book wa
Feb 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Interestingly, the author never mentions anything about "what can be done" to stop the animal abuse, worker abuse, and contamination of meat products that are so common in today's slaughterhouses. At the end of the book, she says that she is so happy that she got a job at the Humane Farming Association (HFA), which enabled her to write this book, which enables us to learn the facts so we can take action. But she doesn't offer even one suggestion for what kind of action should be taken. In a way, ...more
Aaron the Pink Donut
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
A very hard book to read but very informative and well researched. I am reasonably knowledgeable about the litany of Auschwitz like horrors that permeate the modern, industrial farm factory, but this book enlighten me to a few practices I wasn’t aware of. The edition I read was a slightly revised version from 2006 that included a new afterword. The use of Horse meat for human consumption and the classifying of Rabbits as poultry were news to me. Every one really should read this book. Yet anothe ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book is truly life-changing. I don't see how anyone can read this and continue to support the meat industry guilt-free. I was aware of abuse of animals in slaughterhouses, but not to this extent. And it's not only the abuse that is shocking -- the way the workers are treated and the quality of meat that is being sold to the public is abhorrent. I literally felt sick to my stomach as I was reading the way the meat is handled and "inspected." The USDA should be ashamed -- if I had little trus ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in maintaining and improving the health of their family! The filth is shocking and has forever guaranteed me of a meat-free diet!!! (Don't trust the FDA or USDA!!!) ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a difficult but necessary read. I had to keep putting the book down after a few chapters because of the down right evil treatment the animals experienced. But this book talks about more than that, the whole system is corrupt. Greedy people in power, within the meat industry and in government, are willing to risk the well being of animals, employees, and consumers to make as much money as possible. This book is packed with information from a long journey Gail went on to reveal the true c ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I documented well-groomed horses as they were prodded into the knocking box, walking with great hesitation in each step. In the first photos, their coats would shine with a healthy luster, their manes carefully groomed. In the next, their bloodstained hides were being peeled from their bodies, their hooves thrown into the pile on the floor. I got shots of foals being herded into the knocking box, skittish at first, then panicked, then lifeless. I just kept shooting.

This one is hard to rate.
C.W. Rose
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A captivating, eye-opening, and jaw-dropping read, all at once. I was aware of slaughterhouse horrors before picking this book up, but I never knew just how bad things really were, in the meat and dairy industry. Slaughterhouses and factory farming plants truly define Hell. This book was published over a decade ago, yet much of what she writes of still holds true today (although things are slowly changing as the public becomes more and more aware). The Afterword did give me some hope. Appalling ...more
Kim White
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Harrowing, yet a necessary read. I often feel like the meat industry is comparable to slavery. Right now, in the world I live in, it’s deemed ok for humans to treat these animals with absolute disrespect towards their lives...but in years to come...this will turn around completely as more people open their eyes and have their perceptions and beliefs challenged. The media, and the meat industry, will eventually have to follow suit. I’d love to see this happen in my life time but I doubt I will ge ...more
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read an earlier version of this book, back in 2004 I think. I believe it is one of the most important books that anyone will ever read and something everyone should read. Every person I have ever loaned it to has come back with the same feelings. It is a disgusting, disturbing industry. I couldn't eat chicken for 2 weeks after reading this book and still cry when I see a pig truck pass me on the highway. I am not a vegetarian (though I will NEVER eat veal), and never will be, but I feel that t ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it
i gave this title a lower rating only because the narrative is sensational and it isn't as skillfully written as it could have been. that said, there are not many books written about this subject, so the investigative work that eisnitz has done is immensely valuable. it is a fast-paced, gory read that will likely leave you feeling indignant and insulted by yet another instance of a federal agency witholding information from the public and surreptitiously covering up mistakes. another thing that ...more
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Seriously, I don't know how to say this any plainer: every adult needs to read this book. Putting your head in the sand when it comes to how your food animals are raised and killed puts you in grave danger and keeps ensuring the outrageous torment of MILLIONS of animals, annually. This book is not some animal rights story blown out of proportion. It is the most compelling and important expose on food to have been written since Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". Even if you don't care about the anima ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book. Gail Eisnitz has produced an outstanding and irrefutable account of the truth behind America's meatpacking industry. One can only wonder what, if anything, has changed since her book was published; an updated edition would be much appreciated. Gail Eisnitz has done a terrific job of balancing what some might regard as an agenda (she was employed by the Humane Farming Association during her research for this book) with the reporting of meticulously documented facts. Any ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Actually, I didn’t finish it. I’d returned it to the library just recently. I couldn’t finish it. Watching animals being tortured is one thing, but reading the descriptions is another. I’m already sold on veganism. I might seek it out again in the future.
It disturbed me that harm to the workers was the worst part and not the actual killing of the farm animals. At the same time though, it didn’t occur to me that the workers were in danger on the job. I assumed you’d have to be a psychopath to do
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good book if you are a meat eater. This book made me almost want to go vegan. I am not going to be a vegan after this book but it does make me want to change my diet. It's graphic and can be a hard read for those who either have a weak stomach or can not stand details of animals being abused and killed.

It's very well written and one of the few books that explore this issue (other than "The Jungle").
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