When it was published in 1996, Dead Meat, Sue Coe’s graphic exposé of the meat-processing industry, was as shocking as Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle 90 years earlier. Both captured the horror of the slaughterhouse while critiquing the underlying barbarity of capitalism. This month, OR Books is publishing an update called Cruel: Bearing Witness to Animal Exploitation ($25), which draws on Coe’s “life” in slaughterhouses and stockyards, tackling subjects that she didn’t feel qualified to deal with earlier—such as the infectious diseases that are now systemic in industrialized food and can spread globally in a matter of days. I asked Coe to discuss the artistic, aesthetic, and moral implications of a subject that has occupied more than 20 years of her life.

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