Almost twenty years ago I read a book called Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin
In the book he traced the history of human beef consumption and asked why we continue to raise and eat the cattle that threaten the global environment, human health, and economic stability.
Reviews on the book state: “Cattle and other livestock consume more than one third of the world’s grain while billions of people go hungry. Meanwhile, affluent Americans, Europeans and Japanese gorge on beef and increasingly die from heart disease, cancer and other diseases closely correlated with consumption of meat and dairy products. Rifkin drives home the moral paradoxes inherent in this situation in a timely, tremendously important book that ranks with Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and John Robbins’s Diet for a New America as a call to nutritional sanity, environmental ethics and awakened conscience. The chapter on lax inspection procedures and abysmal conditions in slaughterhouses is shocking.” The book certainly left an impact on me.
Now there is another similar book, published recently, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
This book looks at the issue of factory farming. As the author states, “this powerful and passionate book is not about changing peoples’ minds or values. It is about providing a clear line of vision between people and the food they eat. Factory farming exploits millions of animals each year, and has far reaching consequences for people and the environment as well. ‘Eating Animals’ gives an insight into what occurs behind closed doors.”
I am reading it at the moment and it has reminded me of how I felt when I read Beyond Beef. I will certainly be including more vegetables in my diet and reducing the amount of meat. I enjoy my meat too much to eliminate it completely from my diet but I will endeavour to buy my meat from the local small butcher who raises and slaughters his own cattle and sheep. Not sure what I am going to do about the chicken, fish and pork! I think there is a butcher in Bairnsdale who raises his own pigs.
I have a new admiration for vegetarians.