... brilliantly provocative ... What makes The Meat Paradox so original — and, at moments, electrifying — is that instead of trying to argue this confusion away, Percival addresses it head-on, locating the hypocrisies of meat-eating within some of the deepest aspects of human psychology ... Some of the most fascinating passages of the book concern the ways in which hunter-gatherer societies come to terms with eating meat, through a complex series of rituals and beliefs designed to distinguish their actions from wanton murder ... not a straightforward polemic for veganism (although if you can eat meat straight after reading the passage describing a skip in a slaughterhouse filled with 'hundreds of pairs of eyes', you have a stronger stomach than I). What makes this such an unusual book is its pragmatic sense of nuance. Percival refuses to pick sides in the strident debate between pro-meat lobbyists and vegan evangelicals ... does an extremely powerful — and sometimes humorous — job of laying bare the delusions and destruction of modern meat-eating ... if this fascinating book has a flaw, it’s that Percival is stronger on philosophy than on practical solutions. There is no proposal here for the policy levers that could reform a global meat industry that causes so much ethical and environmental harm. Nor does he explain how, as an entire population, we could ever find our way back to ethical meat-eating from where we stand, as he puts it, 'chicken nugget in hand, swaying over the precipice'.
... thought-provoking ... this book is not another lecture on how we need to swap the sausage sarnies for tofu tempura...What Percival offers is much more interesting: an exploration of our psychological relationship with meat ... At times his book reads like a murder mystery as he digs deeper into the fraught relationship between humans and their prey ... a fascinating book, part cultural history of meat, part manifesto, part pilgrimage. Percival is a gifted writer, marshalling evidence, weaving together interviews and offering descriptions that at times verge on the poetic. Sometimes he seems to go a bit far. I wanted less mysticism and more practical advice. I also wanted a bit more hope, but this doesn’t appear to be on offer. This is the first book I have read that has talked about the climate emergency in a way that punched me in the stomach. It made me feel more squeamish about what I put into mine, but it also made me feel that tinkering with diets is really just fiddling while Rome burns.
Percival is not always so rational...A whole chapter on 'murder' follows, yet he never provides an argument for why this is the right word to use for animal slaughter ... He doesn’t seriously consider the possibility that there is no irresolvable paradox after all, just an uncomfortable tension, as there always is in the interdependence of life and death ... his provocative book presents a challenge that most haven’t even begun to confront – and few are ready to meet.