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The Ethics of What We Eat

de Peter Singer, Jim Mason

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More people than ever before are paying attention to the food they buy and eat: where it comes from, how it s produced, and whether or not it was raised humanely. Singer and Mason examine the diets of three typical families to explore the impact our food choices have on the future of life on earth. They also identify six empowering ethical principles that conscientious consumers should consider when shopping for groceries or eating out. Speaking to the mainstream, their advice reflects this principle: "You can be ethical without being fanatical." A thought-provoking look at how what we eat profoundly effects all living things and the environment and how we can make healthful, more humane food choices.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perbiblioteca privada, Wayfaring, nandu1, HJAndrews01, judico51, red.head.wanderings, georgembenson
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This is an excellent book that, were I a different person, a saint and not a sinner, might have changed my life. I think it probably will change it somewhat; I will continue with the baby steps of eating and buying food more mindfully, as I've already begun to do, but I'm not becoming vegan any time soon. [b:The Way We Eat|29377|The Way We Eat Why Our Food Choices Matter|Peter Singer|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316130253s/29377.jpg|213660] gives the reader many points to ponder about the philosophical questions that arise about eating animals, the treatment of animals who provide food for us, the tension between eating locally and supporting farmers in developing countries, and many more.

But this is not merely a work of philosophy. The authors begin by examining the food shopping and preparation practices of three families. One family eats the typical American diet with lots of meat, convenience foods and fast food, shopping mainly at Walmart or another supermarket. The next, with a vegetarian husband and a carefully omnivorous wife and child, prefers organic and local food and shops at a variety of places including farmers' markets. The third family eats a completely vegan diet and grows much of its own food. Although it's easy to tell that Family #3 is the one the authors admire, each of the families is treated respectfully and the reasons for their choices are respected. The authors provide a lot of information about where each family's food comes from and what happens before it gets to the table. I appreciated the thoughtful and non-sensationalist way that all this information was presented. Whenever possible (since some of the farmers and businesspeople on the more "industrial" end of the spectrum refused interviews), Singer and his co-authors interviewed people on both sides of a question or at least read and quoted extensively from their work. When they disagreed with someone and dissected his arguments, they did so fairly.

The conclusion: it would be best for the welfare of the world (humans, animals, plant life, water, soil and atmosphere) if everyone began to eat a vegan diet as soon as possible. But, realizing that this is unlikely, the authors give a short list of steps that can bring all of our diets closer to sustainability and a higher morality.

I would recommend this book without reservation; I think it was the best non-fiction book I've read all year. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Subtitle: Why Our Food Choices Matter
I never had carefully considered the plight of the chickens, cows or sows that go into my daily diet. This book graphically describes their short and brutish lives and deaths. It then puts forth an argument to prove that it is not ethical to eat anything but a vegan diet. If the lives of humans were not in large part as full of misery as that of animals, it might be a valid argument.
  hmskip | Mar 3, 2012 |
I liked that the authors follow three families and their eating habits and search for the source of the food that the families consume. It's interesting how people jusitfy what they eat and how other justify why they choose to raise animals the way they do. Overall, this book helped me to be more aware of where my food comes from. ( )
  bamalibrarylady | Jan 14, 2010 |
The Way We Eat is an in-depth exploration into the ethics of our food choices. To illustrate their arguments, co-authors Singer and Mason use the eating habits of three families as case studies: a typical suburban family looking for low-cost, convenient food choices at their local Wal-Mart; an upper-middle class family that chooses organic foods whenever possible and shops at places like Whole Foods; a vegan family that is very tuned into food ethics.

Singer is an ethicist, and this book includes detailed analyses of the ethics implicated by eating meat in general, eating meat and from factory farms, eating farm-raised fish, choosing organic and free-trade foods, buying local food, and other food choices. For people already sensitized to the ethics of food choices, this is a great book for diving deeper into the subject. It's well-written and well-researched. Newcomers to the issue, however, should start with something less dense like Michael Pollan's fabulous primer, The Omnivore's Dilemma.

This review also appears on my blog Literary License. ( )
1 vota gwendolyndawson | Mar 11, 2009 |
I recommend this book to anyone who questions what titles like certified organic, certified humane, all-natural, etc. mean. This book provides a great service in clarifying those deliberately-muddied waters.
  ptzop | Nov 28, 2008 |
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More people than ever before are paying attention to the food they buy and eat: where it comes from, how it s produced, and whether or not it was raised humanely. Singer and Mason examine the diets of three typical families to explore the impact our food choices have on the future of life on earth. They also identify six empowering ethical principles that conscientious consumers should consider when shopping for groceries or eating out. Speaking to the mainstream, their advice reflects this principle: "You can be ethical without being fanatical." A thought-provoking look at how what we eat profoundly effects all living things and the environment and how we can make healthful, more humane food choices.

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