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Meat: A Benign Indulgence, Simon Fairlie

This is a book I just heard of, so clearly haven't read. The reviews I found were interesting:


Monbiot changes his mind about a lot of things:
'This will not be an easy column to write. I am about to put down 1,200 words in support of a book that starts by attacking me and often returns to this sport. But it has persuaded me that I was wrong.'

Long, and seems to downplay the message compared to the first two, but is also a lot more detailed about what Fairlie says:

Some themes of "free meat", or default livestock production, manuring plants and eating waste or grass; VeganWorld as a sterile one of humans cut off from animals or nature; irony of slow/organic food vs. very heavily processed fake meat products; bad statistics behind "X gallons of water per kilogram" or greenhouse gas accusations; meat production as a built-in cushion against overpopulaiton or bad harvests

Essay by Fairlie himself:
'In short, Happy Valley was producing, from the grass that we all walked on, a substantial proportion of the protein and fat that we required for our nutrition, but we weren't eating it and instead were import-ing it from countries where people go hungry.'

'The authors use it [UN FAO report] not (as one might expect) to argue for a reduction in meat consumption, but instead for a doubling of meat consumption through intensive agriculture and factory farms.'

' Fairlie compares the productivity and sustainability of six cultivation options:'
'strictly in terms of calories, 2.5 acres of arable vegan organic land feeds 8 people whereas 2.5 acres of arable organic land plus 3.75 acres of pasture for grazing feeds 7.5 people.' ...I'd like to know how that was figured.

'With industrial processing of pea, bean and grain protein into artificial meat and milk, a semblance of an animal-based diet could be provided for about 200 million people (in Britain, using the same land take as the other models).”' (Livestock-free chemical fertilizer/pesticide model)

This review also describes Fairlie talking about the phosphorus limit, and argues for more realistic organic productivity limits... generally this reviewer seems be a more aggressive defender of meat than Fairlie.

' Protein is of signal importance in maintaining a full term pregnancy and having a baby of normal birth weight. A vegan diet is ill suited to this task. Animals don’t need to be told this. Even the slow moving panda bear, which eats only bamboo shoots most of its life, prepares for breeding by eating birds’ eggs.'

Rabbits turn grass into meat faster than beef, but take more human labor. (And if your concern is killing sentient beings, you kill a lot more rabbits than cows.)

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/364576.html#comments


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2013 12:25 am (UTC)
If inhumane-ness is per head but nutrition is by the pound, should we start farming whales?

We've also been doing a lot of vat meat vs hunting in the TS topics at SJG.
Jun. 22nd, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
_The Deep Range_, Arthur C. Clarke

Hmm, I'm at SJG, not sure if I've seen that one.
Jun. 22nd, 2013 05:43 am (UTC)
mostly in the -isms topic, I think.
Jun. 22nd, 2013 12:27 pm (UTC)

An ex-vegetarian takes a detailed look at the nutritional deficiencies which hit some vegetarians and vegans.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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