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The Cape Fear River runs through Bladen County, North Carolina, population 33,000. On its western bank, in the town of Tar Heel, sits the largest slaughterhouse in the world. Deep below the slaughterhouse, one may find the arrowheads of Siouan-speaking peoples who roamed there for a millennium. Nearer the surface is evidence of slaves who labored there for a century. And now, the slaughterhouse kills the population of Bladen County, in hogs, every day. In this remarkable account, Wise traces the history of today's deadly harvest. From the colonies to the slave trade, from the artificial conception and unrecorded death of one single pig to the surreal science of the pork industry--whose workers continue the centuries of oppression--he unveils a portrait of this nation through the lives of its most vulnerable. His explorations ultimately lead to hope from a most unlikely source: the Baptist clergy, a voice in this wilderness proclaiming a new view of creation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306814754
ISBN-10: 0306814757
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 2-Apr-2009
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Animal-rights lawyer Wise fashions (Though the Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery, 2006, etc.) an angry, oddly focused denunciation of industrial pig farming in North Carolina.Seeking to expose the disgusting practices of the largest abattoir in the world, the Tar Heel, N.C., factory operated by Smithfield Foods, the author first sifts through the strata of injustice previously enacted on the same site - namely, the genocide of Native Americans and black slavery. In the early chapters, Wise establishes that the white settlers believed they had a God-given right to wrest the wilderness of the New World from the "Anti-Christ in the forest," the Native Americans. The early settlers also decimated the tribes with European diseases, and visited their "Genesis disaster" on blacks, specifically at the Walnut Grove slave plantation, which was owned by the Robeson family and subsequently parceled to become Tar Heel town and the slaughterhouse complex. Gradually, Wise arrives at his subject - how the granting of human "dominion" over all God's creatures has allowed us to abdicate, without impunity, all responsibility and respect toward animals. Though he educated himself by visiting the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, the author was not allowed inside the Smithfield factory; his chronicle of Tar Heel's appalling practices is based on interviews with workers. In lieu of firsthand reporting, he imagines the life of "Wilbur," following the process from piglet to bacon. Ultimately, Wise returns to a discussion of the church - both Catholic and Southern Baptist - and its changing attitude toward the troubling biblical license of "dominion."The author's passion for animal rights is unquestionably commendable, but his method of displaying the fallacies of "religious certainties" is dubious. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Steven M. Wise

Steven M. Wise, Esq., has taught at the Harvard, Vermont, and John Marshall law schools and has practiced animal protection litigation since 1982. He is the author of Rattling the Cage, Drawing the Line, and Though the Heavens May Fall. He lives in Coral Springs, Florida.

Books By Author Steven M. Wise

Though the Heavens May Fall by Steven M. Wise

Though the Heavens May Fall

Paperback, December 2005
$32.71
Drawing the Line by Steven M. Wise

Drawing the Line

Paperback, April 2003
$30.99