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Must See TV: HBO Documentary “Death On a Factory Farm”

Death On a Factory Farm debuts tonight, Monday, March 16 (10pm ET/11:30pm PT), exclusively on HBO. The documentary will repeat through Wed, April 1 and will be available on HBO On Demand from Tue, March 17 through Sun, April 12. Check schedule here.

Synopsis: DEATH ON A FACTORY FARM chronicles an investigation into alleged abuses that took place at a hog farm in Creston, Ohio. This shocking documentary is produced by Tom Simon (a seven-time Emmy® winner) and Sarah Teale, producer of the 2006 HBO special “Dealing Dogs,” which received two Emmy® nominations, including Best Documentary.

Three years in the making, DEATH ON A FACTORY FARM follows the undercover investigation of Wiles Hog Farm by the animal rights group The Humane Farming Association (HFA), and the resulting court case against it.

In the trial that followed, prosecution and defense waged a tense battle over the legality and morality of practices rarely seen by the public and described by the presiding judge as “distasteful and offensive,” but defended by Ken Wiles and other members of the tight-knit Ohio farming community as the commonplace reality of producing livestock for consumption.

Check out the NY Daily News interview with “Pete” the undercover investigator and a New York Times review of the documentary.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    I don’t have cable TV – does anyone know if HBO will show this streaming via their site??

  2. Comment by

    Stephanie E.

    on #

    OK, I know I might have come down overly hard on the NYT review this morning in my own critique of it at, but I still am surprised that I haven’t seen other vegans and animal rights advocates expressing some dismay with it too. The reviewer agrees with the defense attorney that this case was “about an animal-rights group from California coming to Wayne County, Ohio, trying to tell us how to run our farms,” rather than, you know, about unjustifiable animal cruelty. And he finishes the review by noting casually that he used to move pigs along with “prods and two-by-fours” too and by seemingly even agreeing with (or at the very least condoning) letting the farmers off the hook–because, after all, “we can’t all eat lettuce.” Am I alone in being so bothered by this review?

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I have at least one friend who saw this documentary and decided to go vegetarian. Regardless of it’s flaws, I think it’s wonderful to see something on mainstream television that makes people question the effect their eating habits have on animals.
    Anyone going to their website will also be provided with resources for more information, and information on a vegan diet.

    I think we should take a minute to email HBO, let them know that their subscriber numbers will increase the more they air docs about this issue.