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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star, Verified Purchases). See all 45 reviews
on July 26, 2012
Like the school bully who gets in his hardest kicks once you're down on the ground and have essentially given up, this book drives home a message in powerful, painful punches. "For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows about what's happening before the meat hits the plate, the better... one of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people in the developed countries are several generations removed from the farm and haven't a clue how animals are raised and processed." (p.11) With this, Peter Singer lobs the ball in the air and then proceeds to light the court on fire.

Some of it is hard to read. "For ten hours we grabbed and wrestled birds, jerking them upside down, facing their pushed-open [$%&@], dodging their spurting [$%&@], while breathing air filled with dust and feathers stirred up by panicked birds." (p.29) I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

The dairy cow section was hard to read too, and I admit to my ignorance here. I suppose I thought dairy cows just made milk. I've thought that to be a humane way to farm with cows, and you can imagine a gawky 8-year-old boy straddling a three-legged stool in some ancient barn as the sun rises over the meadow, milking the lone family dairy cow before heading out to school. My quaint image was shattered when Mason informed me otherwise, painting a picture of a cow bellowing for the calf taken from her, and then we're told the calf is dead within a few days, "his body was lying on the farm's compost pile." (p.58) Oh, do I HAVE to keep reading?!

I didn't believe the part about the "drop kicking" of chickens (p.27) so I looked it up on the Internet. Not too hard to find the Pilgrim's Pride video... and in watching it, my husband asked of me, "why are you watching this?!" I told him how disgusting this all was, that I could never buy a Tyson food product again (how many "bad lists" are they on, anyway?). For Pete's sake, where could I find a humanely raised chicken to eat? Then my husband asked if we should add fryers to our egg-laying hens this year.

The gloves came off in the final round of the book. The last 50 pages of The Ethics of What We Eat delved hard into omnivore versus herbivore - with the authors' call to action clearly being for all us to convert to vegans in order to achieve ethical eating bliss. The language was harsh, reminding us that the industrial food model is "systematically abusive" and that "discomfort is the norm, pain is routine, growth is abnormal, and diet is unnatural." (p.242) Even Pope Benedict XVI is brought into the argument, being quoted on hens becoming "caricatures of birds" (which is also lyrically descriptive - Singer is a very good writer).

The pages devoted to freeganism, or dumpster diving, were also interesting, and my mind brought up images of documentary coverage I had seen on TV a while back. While I generally don't have a problem with this - I'm not, say, grossed out by this or repulsed by the idea of eating wrapped food from the garbage... I think most parents have salvaged something incorrectly thrown away at one point or another - but I also posit that it isn't a practical way for a family to eat on a regular basis. I'm not going to pack up my kids late at night (or leave them home alone) to go sort through urban trash bins looking for stuff to pack in tomorrow's lunch boxes - so it's a bit laughable that this passage is essentially included in the call to action on what readers should do to make more ethical choices.

The concrete What Should We Eat chapter tries to lay a clear foundation with simply-stated guidelines like "look for farmers' markets and buy directly from local farmers" (p.275). But the authors loaded too many heavy concepts, which shattered the foundation, and for me, rendered the final section ineffective.

However, I really loved this: "It's this whole American thing about having cheap food. It's a fallacy. That guy thinks his food is cheap, but you and I are subsidizing that cheap food by paying for the social and ecological issues that are occurring in that community." (p.98) That's the real story behind much of this whole food ethics/politics/sustainability issue, and I hadn't seen it articulated so well until this passage.

If you're up for it, this is a fantastic book worth reading. But if you find yourself nauseous, or lacking an appetite while strolling through your local supermarket, or offended by any of the [real] horror stories described in detail throughout the book... I warned you.
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on September 4, 2016
I am shifting to vegetarianism and I have to say that this book provided a solid basis for making that decision from an ethical perspective. That is not the thrust of the book, but this book has nurtured along my growing desire to eat more mindfully and to consider the downstream impact of the foods I eat. Some of the material is widely available, yet it seems Peter Singer has been a pioneer.
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on May 27, 2013
I ordered this book for an English class I was taking at Cypress College in Cypress, California. It opened me up to the reasons why some of us are choosing a certain eating lifestyle. Also, some of our reasons behind our choices are unsupported. We make the decisions to "eat healthy" based on public perceptions and beliefs without digging deeper and verifying facts. Reading this book paints a clear picture that a lot of our "healthy" choices may benefit us in the short term but be hurting the "health" of our surroundings in the future.

A well-written read from Singer. I highly recommend.
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on June 26, 2016
Interesting read! This was recommended by a college professor and it opened my eyes. It inspired me to become a vegetarian (lasted about 9 months) but definitely worth the read.
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on March 16, 2016
This book was great in an informative aspect. Be cautious before reading, it'll make you change your way of eating and, make you look at food differently.
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on February 23, 2014
The book itself was pretty good (in terms of condition), but the content was a little hard to follow. Some parts of this book require more "thinking on" to fully understand the arguments made. But overall, ethos, pathos, and logos are well-used.
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on October 10, 2013
Needed this book for a philosophy course and found myself reading more than was assigned. It's a great book and everyone should read it to learn about what we're truly eating and how these animals are inhumanly treated. It's good to be educated about your food sources.
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