241 of 246 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bound to get AR folks talking
(repurposed rom vegblog.org):
After being vegetarian for almost five years and vegan for ten months, I feel like I've read most of what there is to read when it comes to animal rights literature as related to veganism. I've read Slaughterhouse, I've read Fast Food Nation, I've read Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, I've read The Food Revolution. But when I got...
Published on September 9, 2005 by Ryan A. Macmichael
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Liked it. Not as ground breaking as Marcus' previous work on "Vegan the new ethics of eating", but worth reading.
Published on January 20, 2008 by O. De Jesus
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241 of 246 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bound to get AR folks talking,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)(repurposed rom vegblog.org):
After being vegetarian for almost five years and vegan for ten months, I feel like I've read most of what there is to read when it comes to animal rights literature as related to veganism. I've read Slaughterhouse, I've read Fast Food Nation, I've read Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, I've read The Food Revolution. But when I got Erik Marcus' wonderfully written and impeccably-researched and -reasoned second book, Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money, I realized that there are a lot of new ideas floating around worth thinking about.
The first three chapters cover material that will be familiar to long-time AR activists. But even so, there are still some worthwhile nuggets in there that will surprise you. Erik starts off by talking about the economics of animal agriculture and how dramatically the farming landscape has changed over the last fifty years. Long gone are the days when small farms ruled and you knew where your eggs were coming from. Now animals are grown more quickly, forced to produce a higher output (whether it be meat, eggs, or dairy), and are killed at an earlier age. One fact that struck me: in 1950, it took 70 days before a chicken reached slaughter weight. Now, it's down to 47 days. And on that 47th day, the chicken is 2/3rds larger than a 70-day old chicken from 1950. Even if the argument that "eating meat is 'natural'" is true, that kind of physiological change in an animal is anything but.
The "Farmed Animal Lives" chapter summarizes the pain and suffering animals go through throughout the meat/dairy/egg production process. Not too much new ground here, but the ethical argument for not eating meat is summed up so succinctly here, I wouldn't hesitate recommending this as the one chapter to show to meat-eating friends and relatives. The facts are presented in such a straightforward way with just enough detachment that it's powerful and moving without being preachy. This chapter made an impression on me, causing me think very differently about eggs. Erik contends, and it seems correctly, that egg-laying hens are the more tortured animals in all of food production. The pain and suffering they endure goes beyond even what veal calves endure. Clearly, it's not a walk in the park for any animal subject to such a life, but if you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian considering veganism, this might be the chapter that helps push you the rest of the way. I got this book just before I completely gave up eggs and dairy, and it was definitely one of the deciding factors in nudging me the rest of the way.
In the "Possibilities for Reform in Animal Agriculture" section, Erik discusses how it's technically possible to provide slaughter-free eggs and dairy, but it is economically unfeasible in our current climate (it would cost about a dollar an egg). I always thought about how one could perhaps ethically eat eggs since hens will lay unfertilized eggs, but finding a place to get such eggs proves to be an extremely difficult task. Free-range and organic labels are intended to make consumers feel better about their purchases, but truly, the difference is miniscule, if anything, to the animals. Eggs are a torturous business, no way around it.
The main focus of the book comes in part two which talks about "dismantlement." Sure, you've heard of animal rights, animal welfare, and vegetarianism as approaches to reducing animal suffering, but Erik introduces this idea of dismantlement as the ideal fourth movement that all animal activists can get behind. It's a lofty goal: bring down the industry systematically not by telling people "You need to change your diet!" but by introducing them to the cruelties of factory farm life. "Animal agriculture takes a small hit whenever somebody becomes vegetarian or vegan," Erik writes, "but the loss of one customer is something the industry can live with. What the industry won't be able to endure is a steady stream of new activists [from the general public] seeking to put an end to animal agriculture."
The argument for dismantlement is a strong one, and Erik does a very good job of outlining the problems the animal rights movements have had in the past and how they can be avoided. Everything from poor use of money to hostiliy towards hierarchy has hurt the movement, and these organizational issues need to be addressed before the dismantlement movement can really get off the ground.
It can be frustrating for an activist to look at the animal rights/protection movements over the last 20 years and see that while there have been incremental gains, public awareness of the issues isn't really noticeably higher. Or, at the very least, the number of people that have converted to veganism has only increased slightly. Whether or not the idea of dismantlement is the answer remains to be seen. But perhaps the most valuable thing that Meat Market will do is cause activists to talk and consider new ideas. Erik wants his idea critically examined, just as he wants every other aspect of animal rights and protectionism examined. As a movement, it behooves us to make sure we have not only rock-solid science behind health and environmental claims, but a firm, clearly stated argument about the misery caused by factory farming.
Erik argues that the movement has been split evenly between health, ethical, and environmental issues and that it needs to shift primarily towards ethical issues in order to be most effective. I'm not completely convinced this is the best route to take. Perhaps it's because I'm becoming a bitter old man when it comes to my view of humanity. I feel like people, in general, care more about taste and their "right" to eat what they please a lot more than they care about how animals are treated. Sure, organic and free range meats have gained in popularity, but I'm convinced it's more for taste and health reasons than anything resembling a true and honest concern for the animals.
That said, I think that what Erik suggests as a new direction and focus can be true. What we have to do first, though, is help the average person not cringe when they hear the phrase "animal rights." We have to show them that for every goofy PR stunt PETA pulls, they do a world of good that doesn't get reported helping farmed animals. We have to remind people that there really isn't a difference between their dog and a pig other than that one winds up on their plate in a particularly heinous fashion. I think that once we can shift public perception of the animal rights/protection movement, we'll be able to drum up a lot more support for fighting the factory farm machine. We've begun to see this shift on the vegetarian side of the movement, where even though not significantly more people are becoming full-fledged vegetarians, more people are becoming aware of vegetarian foods and don't automatically think of someone eating tofu raw out of the carton. I'm not completely sure how we can cause similar change in perception on the AR side of things, especially on a large scale, but I think it can be done. And once it is, then the concept of dismantlement will be ready to roll full-force.
The next section of the book features guest essays from activists on topics such as leafleting, working for school lunch reform, and promoting vegetarian diets as a nutrition expert. There's a lot of inspiration in these brief essays and everyone will find something here that will encourage them to get up and make a difference in their own way.
Meat Market closes out with a set of appendices that take a critical look at the facts behind the arguments the movement uses, like the difficult question of hunting and how it's not as black-or-white of an issue as either the traditional AR stance nor the hunter's party line. This is what makes Meat Market a successful endeavor: it has a crossover appeal and it doesn't lay everything out as "this is the only thing that is true and the other side is totally wrong about everything." It's a refreshing take on the issue and one that we have to consider, debate, pick apart, and act on in the coming years in order to keep our movement from stagnating and losing its true focus.
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some new ideas, must read for AR activists,
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at animals and activism,
Eight years ago, Marcus wrote Vegan: the New Ethics of Eating. Since that time, he has seen every side of animal protection movements, become dissatisfied with their progress, and developed strategies to improve them. If every major industry (including our competition) has a board to analyze and evaluate their effectiveness, so should the animal protection movements. Yet, somehow, this has been overlooked. Marcus provides Meat Market as a welcome first step towards movement refinement and evolution.
Meat Market is intentionally different from typical vegan literature in both format and content: Instead of striving to induce mass veganism, it provides a starting point for those who are compelled to accomplish something more. Topics are brief, focused, and without the shouting and gore that somehow became acceptable in the early stages of the modern movements. It's a solid information source and provides specific actions for individuals at any level of commitment. It's also timely for me because I held so many of its ideals, as well as frustrations, and this gave both a well-reasoned voice.
I divide the book into five sections: The first is a factual exploration of the business of growing animals for food. It doesn't identify actions as horrible (so much); rather, it describes the actions, provides the rationale for them, and lets the reader absorb the information. It shows the evolution of the industry, its current state, and explains that the current system can't change its methods. It provides the facts you need before talking to anyone about factory farming. You've probably met omnivores who said, "don't even talk to me about factory farming--I know it's horrible but I don't want to think about it." These 55 pages are what you give to them.
The second section offers a history, state, and future of the three animal protection movements. The last chapter of this section provides a great resource when books, pictures, or movies finally compel someone to action.
The third section contains essays from a cross-section of individuals who've incorporated a higher purpose into what they love to do. They're a good source of inspiration and will leave you wondering how you can weave activism into your professional life or weave a professional life around activism.
Section four provides unassailable information on vegan issues, while section five contains supplemental notes supporting section four (and the rest of the book). To give activists a sound knowledge base, Erik spent 18 months in the Cornell Agriculture Library (Mann) researching the latest and best science on vegan topics. He exposes the bad science and exaggerations that have crept into, and propagated through, our literature. The result is compelling while avoiding outlandish claims.
These sections combine to make Meat Market an important addition to every activist's library. In particular, section one and four are essential reading before discussing veganism in public. Section one also provides a gentle but thorough introduction you can give to friends or relatives without worrying that they'll think you're a kook. It's also compelling and short enough to make a great display/tabling item. Section two provides important direction for budding activists with a rational, results-oriented approach to activism. Section three serves up motivation when your batteries are low, as well as pearls for new ideas.
Erik Marcus's goal is not simply to convert people to veganism; it's to inspire people to activism - and he offers plenty of ways to contribute. My first suggestion is buy a copy for inspiration. My second suggestion is to buy a second copy and give it to the first interested friend, relative, or stranger you find.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book to stop buying animal suffering with your food dollars or to become a better activist.,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)"Most farmed animal suffering is rooted in the fact that the general public remains uninformed about how modern animal agriculture operates." - Erik Marcus, "Meat Market"
Anyone who has a dog, cat, parrot or other companion animal knows that animals feel fear and pain, and are far more intelligent than humans generally give them credit for. Yet "in 2003, the United States became the first nation to raise more than ten billion farmed animals in a single year," most of them in enormous factory farm operations. Whereas in 1950, a typical pig, dairy or beef cow, laying hen or food chicken, would have a fairly decent life until slaughtered, the suffering inflicted on today's factory farm animal is horrific and unconscionable. If people only knew the animal suffering that went into the meat, egg, or dairy product on their plate, they would not consume these products, or at minimum would consume only animal products from animals that had a decent life until slaughtered as humanely as possible.
If you consume beef, dairy, chicken, eggs or pork, and haven't a clue or only a vague idea about the lives of the animal products you eat, I highly recommend you read the first three chapters of "Meat Market." You'll learn why factory farmed eggs are arguably the product of the most animal suffering, and should probably be the first animal product to give up if you want to improve the lives of animals. You'll learn about horrors including forced molting and beak searing in egg production, gestation crates in pig farming, veal operations, the dangers of animal transport to slaughter, and what really happens on the modern day killing floor. For anyone with an ounce of empathy, it's a painful read, but if we have any interest in not purchasing this suffering with our dollars or helping inform others, it's a necessary read. Fortunately this painful portion of the book lasts for only the first three chapters.
Part II of the book covers what animal rights activists can do about this, peacefully and legally, using Gandhi as a role model. Erik examines the animal rights, animal welfare and vegetarian movements since the mid-1970s--where they've gone right and wrong, and how they can be more effective. I find his thoughts and observations on this fascinating, including his comments that well-meaning activists often lack the business skills needed to run effective animal rights organizations. These include skills in management and leadership, how to be a subordinate, and finance. He also writes about how PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals) often alienates the general public, something I've been saying for years. His advice on how to leaflet and discuss these matters without antagonizing people is also quite valuable and I think should be a must-read for animal rights activists.
The next section of the book contains interesting activist essays from Erik's friends who are helping animals in various careers and volunteer jobs including a vegetarian society founder, chef, nutrition expert, and physician. I agree with Chef Robin Robertson's comments that "although being a chef might not appear to be related to activism, there may be no more important work where farm animal protection is concerned."
The end of the book contains nine appendices, where Erik tackles a variety of animal rights issues including the health argument, the environmental argument, fishing, hunting, and animal testing. Non-animal rights activists might be surprised to find that some activists such as Erik believe there are some circumstances where animal testing is warranted. Like the rest of the book, these are well researched and well written. My only caveat as someone with a master's degree in nutrition, is my strong disagreement with Marcus when he writes, "I don't believe that health issues are worthy of being one of the core arguments made on behalf of farm animals." As a rebuttal to this comment, I suggest reading "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell which overwhelmingly shows the hazards of animal products in our diet.
Overall, I think "Meat Market" is an exceptional piece of work in the animal rights literature. It's well written and well reseached with 24 pages of endnotes, many of them primary sources, and contains some original ideas and carefully thought out commentary. If everyone reads this, be they omnivore, ovo-lacto vegetarian or vegan, and acts on it, there would be far less animal suffering in the world.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh ideas for animal advocates,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)I'm already a vegan and a believer in protecting all animals from suffering. When I first heard about this book (without knowing much about it), I thought, "I just can't read another depressing book about the cruelties of factory farming." I was finally convinced to read it, and I'm so glad I did. This book reads more like an activist manual than anything else, examining the current and past strategies of the animal protection movement, what has worked and what hasn't, and proposing strategies for building an effective movement in the future. It is easy to get discouraged as an activist confronting such a large issue, but this book has inspired me with fresh ideas and new strategies on which to focus my work. Definitely a worthwhile read for new and seasoned activists alike!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by this author!,
Some other topics covered are The Health Argument, The Environmental Argument, Animal Testing, etc.. much is covered.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for people who care about farmed animals,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)If you're feeling like you know enough about agribusiness and you do enough as an activist, read MEAT MARKET for a reality check.
What Marcus does that is most impressive (and difficult) is narrow his focus to animals used for food. Agribusiness kills about 10 BILLION animals per year, which is by far more than any other industry that uses animals, so, like his entire book, he focuses on the numbers and not on emotions, and plots a course to relieve the most animals possible from suffering.
MEAT MARKET is invaluable for activists because Marcus has done a lot of the work for us when it comes to statistics (and how they can be explained and how some have been misused). He systematically goes from animal to animal, writing about the economics of their use as well as the conditions under which they are forced to live and die.
Activists and vegans might already know a lot of what Marcus explains, but there are two aspects to his book that I found particularly useful and shouldn't be overlooked.
1. I'm all about language, hence the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. One might say I have a borderline-unhealthy obsession with words. For this reason, I am struck by Marcus' term dismantlement: A movement that strives to weaken and one day topple animal agriculture. Marcus assesses the currently movements (vegetarian, animal rights, and animal welfare), diagnoses their limitations, and proposes that dismantlement can work with them and fill in the gap of an offensive strategy to complement their defensive tactics. Here's an explanation of the strengths of the term dismantlement:
The name "dismantlement" carries with it the underlying mentality of how animal agriculture can be overcome. Dismantlement is a word lacking any implication of hysteria or violence. Rather, the word suggests that animal agriculture can be taken apart in the systematic manner of a mechanic disassembling an engine--thoughtfully, calmly, and one piece at a time (p. 79).
2. He presents three campaigns for the movement: Reforming School Lunch Programs, Ending Grazing Subsidies, and Putting the NIH (rather than the USDA) in Charge of Nutrition Advice. (I'd like to end all subsidies to agribusiness tomorrow, but since that's not going to happen, we've got to start somewhere. The grazing program always loses money because it rents land to ranchers at below market rates, so it's a good place to begin.)
MEAT MARKET is full of practical ideas and essays by long-time activists who take various tacks. Marcus even treads into territory many vegans aren't fans of: that a vegan diet isn't always healthiest or best for the environment. A vegan who eats processed foods flown in from all over the world can probably be just as unhealthy, and do as much damage to the environment, as an omnivore,
I highly recommend reading MEAT MARKET, as well as adopting a vegan diet, which, according to a recent study by the University of Chicago, is the single most positive thing anyone can do for the environment.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tool for people who want to end factory farming,
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This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)Erik Marcus succinctly describes the problems plaguing the animal rights/animal welfare movements, and offers practical advice for moving forward as a peaceful, effective activist. This book is concise, easy and quick to read, and is of great value for those who are aware of the needless suffering of factory farmed animals but can't quite figure out how to make a difference. Recommended for both veteran "animal people" and those new to the realities of factory farming.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars get motivated,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)Erik Marcus's primary lifetime goal is to spare animals from confinement and slaughter. In his first book Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, he outlined the health, ethical, and ecological reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle. His new book, Meat Market, takes a different approach.
The first portion of the book describes the plight of factory-farmed animals. While this may be common knowledge for many vegans, there is some information that I have not read elsewhere. While most books speak mainly of the horror of beef slaughterhouses, Marcus asserts that (meat) chickens actually suffer the most per pound of meat. He also gives compelling reasons to stop eating eggs and dairy products. The hens and cows producing these products live outrageously miserable lives, under even worse conditions than animals raised for meat.
The focus of Meat Market does not dwell as much on the horrors of factory farming as what to do about them. Marcus discusses the current movements and their limitations. He suggests that rather than using defensive methods like asking people to change their diets and stop using animal products, we join a new offensive movement he calls dismantlement.
The dismantlement movement Marcus describes is designed to weaken and ultimately eliminate animal agriculture. It is unique because it strives to unite both meat eaters and vegetarians to fight the problem of animal cruelty - something everyone can agree is wrong. Rather than trying to get others to change their diets (implying self-sacrifice), this movement seeks only to arouse revulsion for the cruel nature of animal agriculture and a commitment to end it. Even with all the outreach done by animal rights organizations, vegetarians and especially vegans are still a small percentage of citizens in the U.S.. If non-vegetarians joined the fight to end animal cruelty on factory farms, the meat industry has the potential to lose a lot of customers.
The book ends with inspiring essays by effective vegan activists and as well as an appendix of recommended reading. This is a great book to get stagnant activism juices flowing again and to get fired up about trying Marcus' new approaches to outreach.
Review as seen on [...] by Cathe Olson
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read Book for All Particularly Vegetarians and Animal Protection Activists,
This review is from: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money (Paperback)Marcus writes one of the best book of 2005 with many unique ideas and honest evaluations concerning the state of animal agri-business and the effectiveness of the people who wish to improve the lives of our farm animals. One of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read.
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Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money by Erik Marcus (Paperback - July 15, 2005)
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