"Each bite of meat involves the killing of an animal that did not need to die," Masson (When Elephants Weep) reminds readers, and if the advocacy of a completely vegan diet (neither milk nor eggs, in addition to giving up meat and fish) is not particularly new-even Masson acknowledges that he is following the path laid out by authors like Temple Grandin and Michael Pollan-the passion with which the argument is made is immediately apparent. Masson explains the scientific background in simple, effective prose, pointing to the vast environmental damage caused by the modern agriculture-industrial complex, then slams the emotional point home by underscoring the plaintive cries of a calf separated from a mother cow or the psychological stress that hens endure when thrust into small cages. Masson argues that a vegan diet is sufficient to provide us with all the nutrients we need to thrive, using his own daily menus as an example, but his most powerful argument calls upon the power of empathy and a refusal to put animals through suffering. It probably won't convert many confirmed meat eaters, but it should provoke serious deliberation about how our food choices reflect our values. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Foodby Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
“It’s a challenge to create transformative moments with books, but [Masson] does it.”—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles TimesSee more details below
“It’s a challenge to create transformative moments with books, but [Masson] does it.”—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
Masson (When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals; The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals) returns to familiar ground with his latest tome on animal welfare. This time, the author is not necessarily trying to prove that animals are sentient creatures but instead is presenting a well-rounded argument for eating less meat or, even better in his view, adopting a diet free from all animal products (i.e., eggs, milk, cheese, and even honey). He presents the usual arguments for not eating animal products: the link to global warming, the horrors of factory farming, and the negative influence aquaculture is having on wild fish populations. He concludes that we are in a state of denial about the origins of our food and demonstrates that veganism is not as difficult as it may sound by presenting a day in his life as a vegan. Well footnoted with ample suggestions for further reading, this is recommended for both academic and public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/1/08; on this issue, see also Mark Caro's The Foie Gras Wars, reviewed on p. 120.-Ed.]
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