The Pig and I by Kristoffer Hattleland Endresen

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In this lively and fascinating book, a guilt-ridden, bacon-loving journalist finds work at an industrial pig farm as he researches the long and torrid history of humans and swine.

After convincing a skeptical pig farmer to take him on as a hired hand for six months, journalist Kristoffer Endresen follows a litter of piglets from birth to slaughter, all in the hopes of understanding what goes on inside an industrial pig farm and whether humans can ethically justify eating pork…which just so happens to be the most consumed animal protein in the world.

During his days as a beginner pig wrangler, he mucks out pig pens and cuddles a cute piglet. He inseminates a female pig and narrowly escapes being trampled. Endresen interweaves his fast times at a piggery with surprising insights into the long and star-crossed bond between pigs and humans — drawing on history, literature, archeology, and myth — and shares new science into video-game-playing swine and pig heart transplants, and asks if pigs really are as smart as we think.

Both an engaging saga of an overlooked animal and a provocative exploration of the ethics of industrial meat, The Pig and I asks us to consider not only where our food comes from, but also the tangled history that first brought it to our plates.