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Pig Tales

An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat

Barry Estabrook (Author)

Overview | Formats

A Splendid Table Staff Book Pick of the Year

"Estabrook, a reporter of iron constitution and persistence, has dug deep into the truth about the American pork industry without losing his sense of humor and humanity." —Christopher Kimball, Wall Street Journal

In Pig Tales, New York Times best-selling author of Tomatoland Barry Estabrook turns his attention to the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on personal experiences raising pigs as well as sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He shows how these intelligent creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight. But Estabrook also reveals how it is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully, benefiting producers and consumers—as well as some of the top chefs in America.

Provocative, witty, and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35293-1
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverPig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat


Endorsements & Reviews

“A beautiful and clear-eyed examination of the world of pigs and pig farming. With his engaging prose and soulful, riveting stories, [Estabrook] illuminates the complexities of the pig industry and the desperate need for reform.” — Alice Waters, Chez Panisse

“Estabrook puts his substantial reporting, storytelling, and writing talents in the service of the pig. He documents the horrors perpetrated in America on this miracle creature, but he also describes the ways to break away from those horrors…Pig Tales appalled me, terrified me, and then filled me with hope.” — Michael Ruhlman, author of Charcuterie and Salumi

“Estabrook tells two powerful stories here. The first is about the appalling ways in which Big Pig raises animals…The second is about how skilled animal husbandry and respect for the intelligence of pigs produces…a far more satisfying life for farmers and pigs alike. Pig Tales is beautifully written. It is also deeply touching.” — Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, and author of Eat, Drink, Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics

“Estabrook turns his keen journalistic eye to pig production…[and] provides balance in the engaging tales of farmers and processors who are thoughtful and eminently human…[A] must-read.” — Cathy Barrow, author of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry

“Before Tomatoland, I thought I knew about the American way of farming. Barry Estabrook proved that I was wrong, painting a devastating portrait of what was really taking place out in the fields. It changed the way I cook and eat. Pig Tales is even more illuminating, a window into the world of pigs and pig farmers that every American omnivore needs to read. You will never look at a piece of pork in quite the same way.” — Ruth Reichl, author of Delicious!

“Masterfully blends storytelling with succinct explanations of policy and science…a must-read.” — Jim Romanoff, EatingWell

“Cogent, level-headed.” — Nature

“Excellent…a more balanced and nuanced complement to muckraking works on similar subjects by Upton Sinclair (The Jungle) and, more recently, Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).” — Peter A. Coclanis, Raleigh News & Observer

“Estabrook demonstrates his skill with words to tell compelling true stories…authoritative yet approachable.” — Steve Weinberg, Seattle Times

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