The Star Tribune reviewed COWED on March 14, 2015, commenting on the book’s thorough and “far-reaching” research. We’ve excerpted part of the review below, and linked to the full article here:
NONFICTION: This far-ranging and deeply researched book details the damage of factory farming to the planet and to humans – and with a lot of sympathy for the cows.
America’s love affair with the burger and the shake has a cost. In this well-researched and far-ranging study, Denis and Gail Boyer Hayes describe in disturbing detail the practices of factory farming and the damage it does to the Earth, to the cows and to the consumers. It’s an important book, though not always easy to read. “Our cows are a reflection of who we are as a people,” the authors tell us in their conclusion, and this doesn’t speak well of us.
The U.S. herd numbers 93 million, and Denis and Gail (as they refer to each other) explain why beef is destined to become a luxury item. Factory farming has helped to create a drier climate with less fertile soil. Cows themselves contribute to climate change — U.S. livestock, the authors state, account for almost 15 percent of greenhouse gases. As the pasture dries out, the U.S. cow population will continue to increase to keep up with the needs of growing human consumption. The costs of a juicy steak will continue to pile up: The authors write clearly and authoritatively about disappearing aquifers, degraded soil, farm subsidies, chemical fertilizers and other factors that will affect our diet.