Our mission at www.consumewithcare.org is to raise awareness about the plight of factory-farmed animals and empower others to make kinder choices when shopping and eating. We are constantly looking for new ways to do this, which got me thinking about what it was that originally inspired me to embark on my personal ethical eating journey. While I’ve been an animal lover for as long as I can remember, reading the book ‘The Ethics of What We Eat” by Peter Singer and Jim Mason had a massive impact on me. It opened my eyes to the serious mistreatment of animals raised for our food, eventually leading to the creation of www.consumewithcare.org with my co-founder Natalie.
I went on to read many more books on the topic and in this blog I’d like to share with you my 3 favourites. For those who would like to learn more about where the food we eat comes from, the problems with our current system of food production (including the animal welfare issues) and how we as individuals can be part of the solution, I really recommend you read them. All 3 are extremely well-written, interesting and easy to read. Of course there are many other great books that have been written on the topic. Mine is not an exhaustive list by any means – just my 3 favourites.
If you’d like to share with us the books that have inspired you to become an ethical eater, we’d love to hear from you.
Here are my top 3:
1. The Ethics of What We Eat – Peter Singer and Jim Mason
In the Ethics of What We Eat Peter Singer and co-author Jim Mason set their critical sights on the food we buy and eat: where it comes from, how it is produced and whether it was raised humanely. They explore the impact of our food choices on humans, animals and the environment. Recognising that not all of us will become vegetarians, the authors offer ways to make healthful, humane food choices. As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.
2. The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan
The Omnivore’s Dilemma is divided into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or “organic” food, and food people obtain through hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain from the ground up to the table, and discusses our co-evolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. He finishes each section by sitting down to a meal. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed (that is, where it came from), revealing the hidden components we unknowingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.
3. Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
Like many others, Jonathan Safran Foer spent his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood – facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on his child’s behalf – his casual questioning took on an urgency. This quest ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. This book details what he found. A celebration and a reckoning, Eating Animals is a story about the stories we’ve told – and the stories we now need to tell.