Monday, August 25, 2014
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
Staff Review by Chris Saliba
Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, with co-author Isabel Oakeshott, show in this devastating book how the negative impacts of industrial farming harm not only animal welfare, but also human health.
Today our supermarket shelves positively groan with food. So extremely well fed are we that our biggest problem is that we eat too much. In the globalised economy, food is shipped from all corners of the world and delivered to supermarket shelves at the lowest possible cost. It’s a system so wondrous as to be almost magic.
Farmageddon shows an inverse world, where nature is pushed to its limits, the environment is treated as nothing more than a toxic dumping ground and animals don’t graze peacefully (as you see on food packages) but live in extreme concentration camp conditions. Humans don’t have so good a time of it either. Indian farmers suicide in huge numbers due to market pressures, meat and milk from cloned animals makes its way into the food chain and factory farming creates diseases resistant to antibiotics. Even pollinating bees, so integral to food production, are under threat.
Author Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, has a long history in animal activism. His writing is a vibrant mix of dedicated research and first-hand reporting. As a nimble and media savvy activist, he brings an energetic and optimistic tone to his subject. In Farmageddon, he roams the world to visit intensive farming businesses and learns what havoc they are wreaking on animal welfare and the environment. Lymbery and co-author Isabel Oakeshott make the pressing case not only for animal welfare, but human welfare. Mega farms devastate local communities with their environmental impact and are also bad for human health. Meat produced from intensive farming contributes to disasters like avian flu and nutritionally isn’t as good as organic meat. The great lesson of this book is that if you care for human health, then you’ll also care for animal welfare. The two go hand in hand.
Farmageddon is one of the best books written in recent years on food, animal welfare and the environment. It rivals Michael Pollan’s modern classic The Omnivore's Dilemma for its research, journalism, passionate advocacy and clarity.
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott. Published by Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9781408846445 RRP: $29.99
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