Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows
Unfortunately the book was a great disappointment. Rather than exploring cultural attitudes about food, it turned out to be a vegetarian tract, full of logically unsound arguments, half-truths, and misleading information for the purposes of conversion. Factory farming is an important yet little publicized industry, and the book was best when the author stuck to the facts of how the industry operates. But she constantly interspersed these facts with meaningless statements like "We can safely say our democracy has become a meatocracy", weakening her credibility considerably.
The book was also largely inaccurate. For example, the author seemed to think that if more people knew that animals suffer, or are individuals with personalities, then they wouldn't eat them. This is not true: for most of human history, farm animals were named, raised, tenderly cared for (in general, livestock would have been a farmer's most valuable possession), slaughtered and eaten by the same people. My grandfather (a farm boy) had a beloved pet pig named Weaker (it was the runt). He bottle fed him, taught him tricks, and spent many afternoons with him. In the end, Weaker was slaughtered and served up for dinner. My grandfather always ended the story of Weaker with "And he tasted very good". Also, while most people don't know much about factory farming, we all know that meat is a result of death and suffering (because all death involves some suffering, even euthanasia). This doesn't stop people from eating meat either.
In sum, I do not recommend this book to any but committed vegetarians who want to feel smug/confirmed in their life choices. However, I am still interested in both factory farming and cultural attitudes about food, so I will keep looking for something more suitable.
--Exercise: 1 hour gym.
--Diet: Lunch: Pork dumplings, onion pancake, frappucino; Snack: the rest of the pork dumplings (there were 10 total); Dinner: Tofu and green bean salad (yum!), cold boiled kongxincai (I'm not sure what the name is in English), pork dumplings, vegan peanut cookie; Drinks: Bubble tea
--Other: Did not drink 8 glasses water; one frappucino consumed.