On the Menu: Animal Welfare

Posted by on September 27, 2010 | Permalink

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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