BOOK REVIEW: Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money

Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money

This is an excellent book for those who are seriously concerned about what happens to animals on factory farms. Rather than just another “go vegetarian” book, Meat Market offers practical ways that we can usher in a more compassionate era.

Marcus begins by concisely explaining exactly why modern farming urgently needs reform. Much of the general factory farming information will already be familiar to humane advocates. However, there was plenty of new and more in-depth information, often culled from agriculture trade journals, that will no doubt be of value to even seasoned activists.

The author goes on to address the ways in which the humane movement has unfortunately failed farm animals, who represent nearly 98% of animals we kill in America. Marcus suggests animal advocates concentrate on farm animals—who are routinely subjected to senseless abuses that even the most dedicated meat lover would find hard to stomach. He also recommends that activists make inroads with the omnivore mainstream—because an industry has much to fear from a riled consumer base demanding changes. I applaud Marcus for cautioning readers not to resort to overreaching claims about the health damages that can arise from eating meat—rather, the outrageous abuse of animals is the most concrete and immediate issue.

The appendices section is just as worth reading as the rest of the book. Marcus allows space for various activist-penned essays and addresses several issues of great concern to veg*ns—the environmental costs of ranching and commercial fishing, and the thorny subjects of animal testing and hunting. Marcus suggests hunters and humane advocates could find common ground on some subjects, but this isn’t realistic as long as the main hunting lobby and advocacy groups have regarded all humane reform as a bitter enemy. In recent years, groups like the NRA have fought mainstream animal welfare legislation that has absolutely nothing to do with either hunting or firearms.


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