In this revolutionary look at food and the future of life on earth, Peter Singer and James Mason examine the diets of three typical families and track down the sources of their food to see how humanely it was produced. They identify six empowering ethical principles that conscientious consumers should consider when shopping for groceries or eating out. They name names, of companies that are voluntarily instituting more humane systems, and of those that continue to offend. Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, they explore ways to make the most ethical choices within the framework of a diet that includes some animal products. The bottom line is: You can be ethical without being fanatical, and here's how.
©2006 Peter Singer and Jim Mason; (P)2006 HighBridge Company
"A no-holds-barred treatise on ethical consumption, this is an important read for those concerned with the long, frightening trip between farm and plate." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a very interesting book. The authors turn the light on the dark side of food production. They are very descriptive and not preachy. The stories of tainted food that have been constantly in the news lately make this book even more timely.
If you listened to this book you wouldn't eat anything. Oh, wait, they did say it was ok to eat mussels, clams and scallops if you HAD to. Everything else, though, is off the table. I stopped listening to this book when they said eating local was less environmentally friendly than eating something that had been shipped from half way across the world. Their one sided arguments were self serving and ridiculous. The fact that they compared this book to the Omnivore's Dilemma is a joke.
There are many good points made in this book, particularly about factory farming and the "unseen" costs of our food production to the environment and the lives of people who live and work or or near these farms. They also allude to some regulatory issues, mosty here in the US. The authors are also fair in their discussion of how buying from nearby sources may not in fact be as environmentally or ethically sound as buying imported foods, and raise some questions about "organic" and the extent to which we can trust that label. And of course they do remind us that eating lower on the food chain has unquestionable value. It's just that they really have a totally one-sided view toward killing of any animal for food, and make sure to paint the ugliest picture possible. Yes, many of the practices they menion are abhorrent, but I didn't hear any good suggestions from them about how it could/should be done differently .. except that they tell us to buy Tofurkey for Thanksgiving. They push their "moral" views so hard that I felt my back going up. I noticed myself surprised when they made a statement that was apolitical or didn't seem to serve their point, but I had the feeling that they put those in just so they could say "see, we're showin both sides." I think this book might guilt a small number of people into becoming vegans, but I don't see it having the kind of influence needed to change the way food is produced in the US. I think it should have been entitled "The Way You Eat" as they claim to be exempt. And about waste of "outdated" food from groceries, they did not address whether stores, made by law to discard outdated food, are able to give that food away.
Read it with the understanding that this is a sales job.
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
You love your pets, right? And I assume that you feel that a minimum level of humanity and decency, let alone respect, should be given to other animals?
Then, do not read this book. I did not think about this but the treatment and exploitation of the animals we eat is terrifying and the authors make a good point when they note what the ethical thing to do is. It is not so much well documented (a disappointment) as it is convincing in its main message: that animal products, at least right now, are produced in a pure evil manner. Forget meat of course, but also think fish (fished or farmed), eggs and milk, etc. I honestly stopped reading after a while; I gave it only three stars in my review because it hardly qualifies as an experience I would like to have when I get a book to read.
Perhaps some will criticize the book as being judgmental and that it is the producer's fault. That's plainly wrong as, like any good economist knows, any demand creates its own supply. Books like this one are doing the ethical thing, to put the focus on the demand for animal products.
So, yes, do not read this book, do not buy this book, as it will probably will make you feel worse when you eat the foods you like.
This is for those who really WANT to know the behind-the-scenes graphic details of what happens to their food (especially meat -- how it's killed, etc) before it gets to you. I was wanting more useful information -- the ABC's of vegetarianism, not the "why's" of veganism. Very disappointed.
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