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Animal Factory

The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment

Animal Factory by David Kirby
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1. First and foremost: do you believe there is a link between mercury in vaccines and autism? If you don't believe that mercury is a cause of autism, what other environmental factors might have triggered an increase of cases in the 1990s?
2. As best you can, place yourself in the position of the various mothers and fathers who are profiled in this book. How do you think you would have reacted to finding out your child had autism? Which parents' situation did you most identify with, and why?
3. What do you think of the Safe Minds parents? Could you see yourself ever becoming an activist, like they did? Or would you deal with the issues more privately? Do you believe one or the other of these is the "right" way to handle the situation?
4. Several issues are clouded by the fact that significant information in this debate is not made public (e.g., the internal IOM transcripts; research done by Eli Lilly). Should this information be made public? Where do you suggest the balance between full disclosure and the right to privacy be weighted?
5. Do you believe privately funded studies are useful? If so, what do you say to charges of "bad science" and the suggestion that these studies just seek to support their theory? If not, how and where do you see studies finding funding?
6. Are concerns over patient confidentiality a legitimate reason for denying access to the raw Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) data? Why or why not?
7. What do you think the government's role and responsibility should be in addressing the issue? Are they doing a good job, a bad job, or somewhere in between? What do you think are the major positives and negatives of government involvement?
8. Related to the question above, should states and/or the federal government pass bans on thimerosal in vaccines? Why or why not?
9. It has been argued that some experts who sit on vaccine advisory panels to the FDA and the CDC have a conflict of interest since they have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. How should this be handled?
10. What are your opinions about the highly controversial chelation therapy (the two-step process that "scrapes" metals from cells)? If a member of your family was thinking about having this treatment for autism, would you be encouraging or discouraging? Why?
11. Has this book caused you to think twice about the thimerosal content of the vaccines you and your family have received? Has it caused you to rethink any other part of your life, like lowering the levels of mercury to which you and your family are exposed?
12. What would you like to see pursued at this point----in terms of the relation between autism and thimerosal and the way federal officials have handled the controversy?

St. Martin's Press; March 2010
ISBN 9781429958097
Download in secure EPUB
Title: Animal Factory
Author: David Kirby
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