Cover image for The modern savage : our unthinking decision to eat animals
Title:
The modern savage : our unthinking decision to eat animals
Author:
McWilliams, James E., author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2015.
Physical Description:
292 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"In the last four decades, food reformers have revealed the ecological and ethical problems of eating animals raised in industrial settings, turning what was once the boutique concern of radical eco-freaks into a mainstream movement. Although animal products are often labeled 'cage free, ' 'free range, ' and 'humanely raised, ' can we trust these goods to be safe, sound, or ethical? In [this book] ... McWilliams pushes back against [what he sees as] the questionable moral standards of a largely omnivorous world and explores the 'alternative to the alternative'--not eating domesticated animals at all"--
Language:
English
Contents:
The agenda -- Getting emotional -- The omnivore's contradiction -- Humane slaughter -- Backyard butchery -- Humane chicken -- Utopian beef -- Painful pork -- Our unthinking decision.
ISBN:
9781250031198
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HV4757 .M39 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Just Food author James McWilliams's exploration of the "compassionate carnivore" movement and the paradox of humanity's relationship with animals.


In the last four decades, food reformers have revealed the ecological and ethical problems of eating animals raised in industrial settings, turning what was once the boutique concern of radical eco-freaks into a mainstream movement. Although animal products are often labeled "cage free," "free range," and "humanely raised," can we trust these goods to be safe, sound, or ethical?

In The Modern Savage , renowned writer, historian, and animal advocate James McWilliams pushes back against the questionable moral standards of a largely omnivorous world and explores the "alternative to the alternative"-not eating domesticated animals at all. In poignant, powerful, and persuasive prose, McWilliams reveals the scope of the cruelty that takes place even on the smallest and-supposedly-most humane animal farms. In a world increasingly aware of animals' intelligence and the range of their emotions,McWilliams advocates for the only truly moral, sustainable choice-a diet without meat, dairy, or other animal products.

The Modern Savage is a riveting expose of an industry that has typically hidden behind a veil of morality, and a compelling account of how to live a more economical, environmental, and ethical life.


Author Notes

JAMES MCWILLIAMS is a writer and historian living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of five previous books on food, animals, and agriculture, including Just Food and A Revolution in Eating . His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's Slate, The Atlantic , and a wide variety of other publications.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The harrowing realities of industrial farming, in which animals are processed as though they were objects instead of sentient beings, have been outed and condemned, revelations that have fostered the more humane, small-scale animal-farm movement. Now historian and agriculture writer McWilliams (The Pecan, 2013) pops the bubble of our belief that these are genuinely compassionate operations. He introduces humane livestock farmers who confess that while they do treat their animals well, they still feel that their work is unethical, especially since many transport their animals to industrial slaughterhouses. As McWilliams stringently details the disappointing and disturbing truth about small-farm operations, he tags the predicament of caring about and for animals, yet killing and eating them, the omnivore's contradiction. McWilliams doesn't deny that conscientious consumers are having a positive impact by choosing humanely produced meat, eggs, and dairy, but it's not enough. We must stop indulging in agricultural fantasies, he writes, and take our compassion for animals and concern for the environment to their logical conclusion. McWilliams' uncompromising call for plant-based food will both rile and rally readers.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2015 Booklist


Library Journal Review

McWilliams (The Politics of the Pasture) argues passionately for empathy toward animals and a radical shift in the way that Americans view eating meat. The author wastes no time laying out his argument, which is pretty straightforward: to kill and consume animals is not tolerable in the modern economy. He contends that the macroanimal slaughter system will continue to mistreat animals even if consumers attempt to buy meats conscientiously, because it will always be the cheaper option. The author is a purist, delving into the subtext of the most outspoken voices criticizing our modern relationship with food. He critiques Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) alike Foer previously expressed disapproval of Pollan in Eating Animals as well as Eric Shlosser (Fast Food Nation) for being too tepid. McWilliams stresses that animals are more sentient than we realize: "They may be even more emotionally open to us than our fellow humans, unburdened as animals are by the arts of denial and suppression." Several anecdotes of livestock owners with chickens, cows, and pigs, as well as painful descriptions of slaughtering animals, illustrate this point. VERDICT McWilliams is an expressive and persuasive writer. Unfortunately, his arguments stem predominantly from emotion, rather than reason, and do not persuade compellingly. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.] Valerie Hamra, Brooklyn (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introduction: The Agendap. 1
1 Getting Emotionalp. 13
2 The Omnivore's Contradictionp. 40
3 Humane Slaughterp. 70
4 Backyard Butcheryp. 100
5 Humane Chickenp. 132
6 Utopian Beefp. 166
7 Painful Porkp. 195
Conclusion: Our Unthinking Decisionp. 222
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 279

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