“To accept the factory farm feels inhuman.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals has been on my list for a while and now that I’ve read it, I wish I had not taken so long. But a part of me must have known it was better that I waited – until I was truly ready.

This book has shifted my world and it has been a disturbing and revelatory journey. I can feel the seeds that were planted while reading his stories, experiences and conclusions slowly growing inside this little noggin’ of mine and I’m quite terrified of what is going to come of them!

Seriously – there is some pretty heavy stuff that has been floating around in there since I finished this book!

As upsetting as it was, I am so glad that it was Jonathan who guided me through the rationalizations, philosophies and astute observations in such a way that I could finish what he had started.

My heart and stomach cannot take much – if any – of the graphic details that are so prevalent in the conversations about factory farming but somehow he was able to present it in a way that I knew it was important that I know it, not just for shock value, but as building blocks to seeing the bigger picture.

Now that I have seen that picture, and recognize that I am not behind the camera observing but participating – by my action AND inaction – I realize I must act. Inertia, complacency and neutrality are not going to cut it when you are dealing with people who see everything as a commodity – who see animals and humans as expendable.

Everything is Illuminated Mr. Foer – and it’s all your fault!

Have you read Eating Animals? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating – Book Review

 

Vegan

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus

 

When I picked up the revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus at my local library, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t read a book about vegan issues in a while and as I flipped through the pages deciding whether to check it out or not, the content seemed interesting and broad enough to retain my interest. It did much more than that!

Erik starts the book with Part I: To Your Health. It looks at the state of our nation’s health and our quality of life. He highlights Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, including personal stories about people who have suffered from heart disease. Cancer and The China Project are also examined and links are shown that the consumption of animal products can trigger the development of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Of course, a section about health benefits without weight loss would be incomplete, so he also talks about how a vegan diet can easily reduce your body weight to its optimal level and discusses the work of Dr. Terry Shintani.

The ‘Perfect Food Isn’t’ chapter was of particular interest to me because I experience a dramatic shift in the happiness of my body when I cut out dairy products and I am dismayed by the implications of the constant barrage of messages to drink milk and eat cheese that we experience as Americans. Mr. Marcus does the topic justice by explaining what dairy does to your body and how we are being manipulated by special interests.

The final chapter in this section was the most eye opening for me. It is entitled; ‘How Now, Mad Cow.’ I had no idea what was going on in the 80’s regarding mad cow disease. Now I know that was intentional. I also didn’t fully understand that a discussion on Oprah Winfrey’s show between Howard Lyman and Dr. Gary Weber about the disease was what spawned the well known lawsuit she endured. I also know much more about how this disease proliferates and how we as a species are seriously compromising the health of ourselves and our children (throughout the world) by consuming beef products from factory farms.

Part II starts off with Rescued! a chapter about Gene and Lorri Bausten who started Farm Sanctuary. The chapter Chickens and Eggs is next with a devastatingly complete depiction of the horrific conditions of poultry which are used for egg production or slaughtered for meat. If you are a Vegetarian who eats eggs, you may want to take a look at this chapter before your next shopping trip.

Erik goes on to explore the lives of pigs, dairy cows, veal calves and beef cattle. He notes throughout these chapters how breeding practices and conditions are creating an environment of disease, misery and death, not only for the animals but for the people who consume their products. This section ends with a chapter named The Killing Business. It explores both sides of the slaughterhouse situation and completes the horrific life cycle of the animals.

If you weren’t convinced by now that consuming animal products is not in anyone or any animal’s best interest, Erik goes even further in his discussions about world hunger, public property violations by the National Cattlemen’s Association and his personal journey to his current stance on veganism. The New Four Food Groups from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Vegetarian Starter Kit is included for those who are interested in eating a more plant-based diet.

Overall, I agree with Howard Lyman when he says, “Reading Erik Marcus’s Vegan is a critical first step for anyone wanting to extend both the quality and length of their life, and the planet’s life.” So read the whole book or just those chapters that interest you. I am sure that you will be more informed and more able to make better choices when it comes to deciding what you consume. Once you do take a look, please let me know what you thought!

The revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus is 211 pages and includes a foreword by Howard Lyman the Director of Eating with Conscience Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States. There are three main sections; To Your Health, The Truth About Food Animals and Beyond the Dinner Table along with two appendices; The New Four Food Groups and Resources.

If you would like to learn more about Erik Marcus, his website and blog can be found at vegan.com. You can also find him on facebook, and twitter.