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Dead Meat Paperback – February 23, 1996
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British artist Sue Coe is well known for her social and political paintings and illustrations, which appear regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the New Yorker. Her latest effort is the disturbing book Dead Meat, a visual record of Coe's visits to 40 slaughterhouses, cattle ranches, and hatcheries to document the grisly practices of the meat-packing industry. Although she was not allowed to photograph on the premises, she was permitted to draw and sketch, and much of this work is jarringly graphic. Incorporated with the artwork are her thoughts and observations laid out in diary form. Even if you don't agree with Coe's politics, this is social and political art at its most powerful, in the tradition of Goya, Daumier, and Rockwell Kent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Political artist Coe spent years visiting slaughterhouses and meat farms in the U.S., Canada and England, all the while drawing and writing about what she saw. The result is a fascinating and revealing portrait of the institutions behind the meat we eat. Coe's illustrations, which appear regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the New Yorker, have the sharply lined, affecting realism of a Diego Rivera mural. Her first-person account is matter-of-fact, thoughtful and engaging. Coe's book is political, and she clearly hopes it will make readers think twice about what they put into their mouths, but she does not preach and is unafraid to confront her own complicity: "Every dollar I get drips with blood too," she writes. Her empathetic rendering of the workers she encounters is reminiscent of Studs Terkel at his best, and the parallels she draws between society's treatment of meat animals and its working classes are disturbing and convincing. Cockburn's introductory essay traces the history of the meat industry with his customary shrewd sociopolitical insight, but without falling into polemics. Dead Meat will appeal not just to those interested in animal rights, but to anyone who cares about how society functions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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For the record and in response to the review by Afan of Sitagyl Manor, it does no good to compare the big biz animal industry to a humanely-run small farm. Also, it is not for humans to attempt to understand what animals might think or feel. It is, however, certain that animals are capable of feeling fear, and if you think they don't become frightened while watching the slaughter of their kind, seeing by the pattern that they are next in line, you have a very different understanding of animals than I have.
While it's easy to skim lightly over even a well-presented and passionate text such as Peter Singer's "Animal Liberation" without understanding the true horror of the meat that you eat, you can't so easily dismiss this book's drawings. They are blunt truths: rather than appealing to your reason, they speak directly to your decency. That makes their argument impossible to ignore.
If you are a meat-eater, you should be afraid to read "Dead Meat," because it will force you to understand the horrible process that turns a life into the food on your plate. But don't let that fear stop you from reading it- you shouldn't fear the book, you should fear the facts that it presents but that tragically exist quite independently of it.
Though I am wary about drawing comparisons to the Holocaust, Sue Coe exposes the primitive, barbaribaric and ignorant side of 'civilized' human society that made the Holocaust to happen, the very same side of human nature that minute by minute allows the systematic torture, neglect and abuse of rights of sentient beings to go on, in secrect, out of sight of our dinner tables. The hellish world of factory farming is graphically exposed by first hand accounts and dark drawings.
To her credit Coe's accounts in the main remain focused and unsentimental, though one wonders how, with the things she witnessed, when her drawings alone are enough to get inside your head. This book should be categorised under 'Educational' and should be used as a text book in schools. Meat eaters, I challenge you not to defend your guilt in ignorance, educate yourselves, read this book.
I reccommend this book to longtime vegetarians, new vegetarians, and also to people who are just interested in maybe trying vegetarianism.