Monday, 21 March 2016

Book Review: The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer & Jim Mason


I've been doing a lot of reading this year and reading a lot of different things to what I normally would. So when I came across this great book review by Katie from Sustainability In Style for "The Ethics of What We Eat" I just had to read it for myself - thanks Katie (by the way Katie's page is fantastic so go and check it out)

I found a copy at my local library and delved in. It was an interesting journey indeed.

It's all about the food industry and the ethics that are applied - particularly to the meat industry. Yes I am a meat eater so I wanted to find out more about the impact that my meat eating has on society and the environment.

This book was written back in 2006, so there could be newer and more up-to-date information available now but it does give a great background story about the modern food industry which I'm sure hasn't really good much better in the last 10 years. Also they used a lot of American information but there were some Australian statics in there but I would like to find out more about Australian practices.

The ethics covers everything we eat, what we put in our mouths is a vote for the world we want to live in. They go into depths about how the animals are killed in factory farming. I did feel quite ill reading some sections of that, I actually had to take a break from reading sometimes. The chickens is what go to me the most as the demand is so high for the meat that they cut corners and sometimes the chickens aren't actually dead when they get to the boiling stage - yuck!!!

We are treating animals with such disrespect and the companies say it's done this way to keep the meat cheap. But what I found interesting is it's not really cheap at all cause the costs are passed on in other ways. Cause the companies are cramming in so many animals and of course the animals produces waste, factory farms are polluting the air, the ground, the waterways - so much environmental damage. With so much environmental damage the residents nearby these factory farms are getting physically ill from the smell and the wash off. It's destroying human health, which means more money is spent on medical, drugs, clean water etc so we are paying the price there. Also since there is so many animals crammed in they get sick so to prevent sickness antibiotics are needed plus hormones to make the animal bigger (some chickens end up so big their legs break on their own weight) so there's more cost again, which also affects us as the antibiotics and hormones are passed onto us through the meat and causing health issues. So there really is no such thing as cheap meat.

Fishing is one of the worse, we are draining our ocean dry. Some fish species take up to 10-25 years to reach sexual maturity to keep the breeding cycle alive and we are impatient creatures and are catching and eating them before they have a chance to keep the generations alive. Also it was alarming to read the amount of grain grown to feed the animals and the amount of fish caught to feed the fish we eat.

There's got to be a better way. I know there is 7 billion of us but it's the developed nations that are creating the most demand. We have become spoilt and demand 24/7 access to whatever food we want. We want to eat seasonal food all year round and meat at every meal. There's nothing wrong with meat per say but it's our insatiable hunger for it and lack of willingness to go without as we demand it's our right to eat everything in sight.

There are more ethical forms of farming emerging and are starting to create a demand for products that are better for animal welfare, environmentally sustainable and better for our health.

Peter Singer and Jim Mason the writers are both vegan and in their perfect world everyone would be vegan and that's a wonderful vision to have but people are not going to drop old habits and ways overnight, small steps are required to get to that goal. When we push for more ethical farming that creates a demand which makes companies stand up and notice. We start making a change and more people then start to get on board which then changes more practices and ways and we can slowly work towards better farming etc. Who knows where this could lead, maybe in 50 years a large percentage of us will be vegan. But it all begins with the first step, start out small and get our voice heard and move from there. Together we can create a more ethical world for the animals, the environment and us.

They used a term called "Conscientious Omnivore" - I find this a great term and I resonate with it quite well. I feel like I'm doing the best I can with the resources available to me, while learning what I can and changing where I am able.

Remember we can all make a difference no matter how small.

Have your read this book? If so I'd love to hear what you thought.  

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

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