A journalist with the Financial Times (UK)—and a former meat eater turned vegan—embarks on a personal journey into our evolving relationships with animals, exploring how those bonds are being challenged and reformed across disciplines.
The book is a sometimes punishing read, as stomach-turning in its depictions of industrial farming as any of those videos that Morrissey likes to show at his gigs. The annoying thing about many anti-meat activists is their disingenuous astonishment that anyone could know something was wrong yet still do it, as though cognitive dissonance were not a universal human failing, but Mance gives vent to no such sanctimony. His own journey toward veganism lagged behind his love of animals, and his openness about that makes him a more persuasive advocate for not eating them. If Mance’s depiction of their slaughter is horrifying, it is partly because he does such a charming job of revealing the richness of animal inner lives.
Challenging, but also funny and refreshingly low in sanctimony, this book is no frothing polemic. It will doubtless alter many readers’ understanding of the systems we all participate in and lead them to make different choices ... Mance is an amiable guide: curious and open-minded enough to alter his position when the facts seem to demand it ... The author makes a strong ethical case for giving up meat and dairy if you live in America, and that extends to the proposed import of many US animal products.
Written with an ever present awareness of climate change and the ecological disaster it portends for all terrestrial life, this clearsighted book offers a clarion call to not only foster greater sensitivity toward the animal world as a whole, but to recognize the Earth as more than just a 'human-shaped' space. An urgent, humane, and exceptionally well-documented book.