On the Menu: Animal Welfare

Posted by 6 years ago | Permalink | Comments (4)

Like most vegans, I often find myself in conversation with people about what I eat and the reasons for my choices, so I try to arm myself with knowledge to be as effective a voice as I can be for all animals currently suffering on factory farms.

That’s why I was so impressed by Sue Cross’s book On the Menu: Animal Welfare, which comprehensively explores the treatment of animals bred and killed for food in the UK. From mussels, lobsters and squids to cows, sheep, pheasants and rabbits, the book describes each type of animal’s grim reality with power and clarity.

How many people are aware that of the UK’s 26.6 million pheasants, only 1.6 million are born in the wild, while the remaining 25 million are reared specifically for sport and then released onto shooting estates? Or that despite the fact that wild ducks spend 80 percent of their time in the water, the only water factory farmed ducks ever see is their drinking water?

Sue Cross recognises the sentient nature of all animals and concludes, “As long as meat, fish, eggs and milk are mass produced to keep prices as low as possible the market is locked into a system where animals are reared with such brutal efficiency that factory farming and animal welfare simply cannot be reconciled”.

Her factual style intermingled with honest descriptions of animals’ existences – from birth to slaughter – make the book a compelling reading. Anyone who sees the recipe for beef and ale pie (which includes taking “one Friesian dairy cow and artificially inseminat[ing] with semen from a bulky beef breed” could not fail to see their next pub lunch in a different light. On the Menu: Animal Welfare is available on Amazon for £8.99 and would make an excellent gift for your friends who sit on the fence, or why not donate it to your local library?

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  • KT commented on September 27, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thanks, I shall have to check this book out.

  • Adele commented on October 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Will be buying, reading and lending this book to my friends!

  • David Richards commented on November 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I have read this fascinating book that has given me a completely different insight into the food we eat. Some of it was quite disturbing and some people probably wouldn’t want to know the truth about where their meat and fish really comes from. It has changed what we, as a family, eat and for the better. The extensive research that must have gone into this book is quite remarkable and I’m sure most of the intensive farmers will find it an uncomfortable read as the truth and bare facts are now out in the open and that their profits are a higher priority than the heath and happiness of the animals they rear.

  • Bryan Chatterton commented on November 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I would describe this book as important and interesting since it answers all the questions I wanted answers to. It’s also easy to flick through. A chapter for each species and each topic clearly set out, for instance ”Can Pigs Suffer?”, ”Transporting Cattle” or ”Ducks – the Abattoir”. It should come with a warning though – it could seriously change the way you eat now!

    This book was lent to me by a friend. My first reaction was ‘No thanks!’. But from the moment I opened it I was gripped. I had no idea of the sheer scale of factory farming and (to my shame) never for a minute had imagined what life might be like for the animals kept in such huge numbers. Shocking and informative. I thoroughly recommend it.

    This is a pretty shocking read. Not perhaps what we might want to know but perhaps what we all should know. I think the introduction is pretty powerful – about how we treat and love our pets on the one hand and yet seem unconcerned about putting most of the animals we eat through a short and traumatised life.

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