Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry

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Book Review – Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry


Leah Garcés, Bloomsbury


This is the story of an American mom who took on the chicken industry and won. It is also the essential story of Compassion in World Farming’s (CIWF’s) opening decade of activity in the USA, told by our first executive director, Leah Garcés.

It is an extraordinary and charming tale of how a childhood growing up in the swamps of Florida, watching the habits and personalities of local ducks rearing their young, armed Garcés with the sensitivity and insight to go to war in later life on behalf of chickens.  

Written with the most readable, clear and uncomplicated sentences throughout, it is intensely personal, honest and motivational.  

It shows how the art of the possible also needs us to dream of changing things in ways that seem impossible; and then make them happen. That’s what Garcés did in the States. She decided that CIWF in the States would focus on factory farming’s Cinderella issue – the chickens reared in their billions for meat.

Crowded together in darkened sheds, made to grow so fast that within just six weeks their bodies become like “balloons with toothpicks for legs”. These grotesque baby giants are then slaughtered for the cheap chicken. Sadly, it’s not a problem peculiar to America; it’s a global phenomenon, a problem common to chickens reared for cheap meat in the UK and Europe too these days, and pretty much everywhere else too. 

In clear, confident tones, Garcés charts how she helped put chickens on the map in corporate America by teaming up with a disgruntled factory farmer, confronting company bosses and showing what being cruel to chickens means to the quality of the food. It is the story of how a dream sparked a domino effect amongst US companies, eager to do better for chickens and their customers.  

Grilled is full of self-reflection and discovery. Shaped by her upbringing, Garcés followed her dream that chickens deserve better. From what was achieved in so short a time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Garcés’ every waking hour was spent on this endeavour. But she is also a devoted mother of three small children. And through life’s weave of family, her upbringing and life-experience, Garcés discovers that, what started out as a cause for the love of animals, turned firmly into a passion for the love of people too. She discovered in no uncertain terms that a bad deal for chickens also means a bad deal for consumers too.  

There is one big moment in the book for me, as CIWF’s global CEO, which is a little too close to home: how Garcés ended up spreading her wings and flying our nest. Her journey concluded by Garcés (not surprisingly) being head-hunted by fellow animal protection society, Mercy for Animals, where she is now president.  

Grilled is a breathless, impassioned and curious journey. It is the tale of an American mom who wants to be able to take her young son by the hand and lead him through the grocery store, knowing there are no bad choices lurking behind misleading labels on those shelves; a far cry from where things are now. Let Grilled lead you through your local stores too. Let Garcés explain the back-story and introduce you to the birds, the farmers, the company bosses and everything in between. It will be a fascinating eye-opener that you really won’t regret.  


Royalties from the book will go to Compassion in World Farming

To order your copy of Grilled by Leah Garcés in the UK (out 19th September), please use links below:- Price £16.99  Online price £15.29 (a saving of 10%) – Apply Coupon Code: BBGRL20 in order to gain 30% off (This offer runs until 9 February 2020) Price £16.99 

To order your copy of Grilled by Leah Garcés in the USA (out 3rd September), please use links below:-  Price $28.00 Online price $25.20 (a saving of 10%)   Apply Coupon Code: MFA19 in order to gain 30% off

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