Synopses & Reviews
When Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., first asked Nicolette Hahn Niman to head up his environmental organization's "hog campaign," she balked. Investigating hog manure pollution was hardly the glamorous assignment she pictured when leaving everything to work for him in New York. But Kennedy, she discovered, is not a man who takes no for an answer.
Thus began Niman's fascinating odyssey into the inner workings of the "factory farm" industry and her transformation into an intrepid environmental lawyer who goes up against the big business farming establishment and unexpectedly finds love along the way.
Starting her work for Kennedy's organization in North Carolina, Niman uncovers the shocking practices of hog factory farms, including inhumane animal confinement and devastating water and air pollution. She organizes a national reform movement to fight these practices and shows again and again that livestock farming can be done in a better way not only for hogs, but also for poultry, fish, and dairy cows.
Through Niman's work, she also tours the best of farms, where traditional farmers and ranchers treat their animals humanely and have joined with other farmers to successfully market the foods they produce. She profiles the innovative and cost-effective methods these operations have incorporated to make a profit by ethical, sustainable means.
Along the way, the story takes a surprising turn when Nicolette is swept off her feet by a high-profile cattle rancher. At first, they seem an unlikely pair: Nicolette, a thirty-something, urban, East Coast, vegetarian attorney, and Bill Niman, an older, West Coast, cowboy type. But they share a passion for raising animals with kindness, and she soon finds herself transitioning to ranching life at the famed Niman Ranch in Northern California.
In telling her story, Niman details not only why to choose meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and fish from traditionally farmed sources (and avoid products tainted by chemicals and antibiotic-resistant bacteria), but also how to do so. She reveals what to look for on labels, why to skip animal products from outside the United States, and what questions to ask when eating out.
A searing account of an industry gone awry and one woman's passionate fight to remedy it, Righteous Porkchop is a must-read for anyone who cares about food sources or good eating.
"[F]ull of astonishing and sometimes horrifying facts." San Francisco Chronicle
"Attorney Niman chronicles her personal mission to enlighten the world of industrial agriculture, an odyssey that culminated in her marriage to one of the nations most noted sustainable ranchers." Booklist
"From a dreary beginning, we wind up with an appetite for fresh meat after all." Library Journal
“Righteous Porkchop is a searing, and utterly convincing, indictment of modern meat production. The book also brims with hope and charts a practical (and even beautiful) path out of the jungle.”
—Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food
“[A] necessary book—part memoir, part exposé…its reasoned case for healthy and humane farming practices has the sweet savor of truth.”
—O The Oprah Magazine
A crusading environmental activist, vegetarian, and lawyer who has worked with Robert Kennedy, Jr. on environment issues, Nicolette Hahn Niman blows the lid off the shocking practices in the pork, meat, and poultry industries in Righteous Porkchop, a Fast Food Nation for the hog trade. Subtitled, “Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond the Factory Farm,” Righteous Porkchop is at once an eye-opening grand tour of Hahn Nimans battles with the industrial farming conglomerates, a guide to avoiding unhealthy meats, and a very personal story of one womans reawakening.
About the Author
Nicolette Hahn Niman is an environmental activist and cattle rancher who has been published in the New York Timesand is a regular speaker at national and regional environmental conferences and food events. A former attorney, she is now married to the founder of Niman Ranch, a collective of traditional farms and ranches. She lives in Northern California.