Right off the bat, I have to agree with the reviews that this is a book that EVERYONE- vegans, meat-eaters, and everyone in between- needs to read. Meatonomics, by David Robinson Simon, is a very in-depth look at, particularly, the meat and dairy industries. If you care about your health, your food, your money, or your conscience, it’s imperative that you get the facts. And Simon’s book delivers just that. Simon presents the economical side of the meat-eating debate, although he does touch on the areas of compassion, health, and the environment as well. It’s impossible to talk about the meat and dairy industries by talking exclusively from one angle, because they’re all important and they’re all related.
Simon talks also of the egg industry, of fish-farming, and how “organic” or “humanely-raised” does not mean much at all. And lest you think he’s just spewing hot air, this book has extensive and well-documented citations.
I knew of the basics of these animal industries, and of factory-farming in general, but it’s the level of detail that’s fascinating, and the staggering costs associated with each of these cruel industries. For instance, take government subsidies; most of us know that these subsidies are the reason why a gallon of cow’s milk appears to be so much cheaper than the equivalent amount of plant-based milk. But the extensiveness of these subsidies is shocking. And why do these subsidies even exist? Because the meat and dairy industries are so powerful and have lobbied Congress for funding, and they have corrupted both the FDA and the USDA. (I first learned of the FDA/USDA corruption in Skinny Bitch, another fantastically-informative book and one that is referenced here). As an example, why is the USDA in charge of setting nutrition guidelines? It’s the Department of Agriculture- the intent was to focus on farmers, real farmers, not these crazy,greedy, factory-farmers. Who, BTW, have sufficiently influenced the USDA that the agency doesn’t shy away from promoting meat and cow’s milk as part of a healthy diet.
There’s a lot of information in this book, to some of which non-vegans may take offense. But read it, I urge you, if you care about your dollar.
There are many things I don’t understand about non-vegans, but especially why they say things like, “I don’t eat read meat anymore” or “I only eat fish”, as if they’ve somehow made an improvement???? Understand that fish-farming might just be the cruelest industry there is; it’s certainly up there with the chicken/egg industry.
When we talk about animal rights, I’ve had meat-eaters stupidly (but genuinely) ask me, “So they should be able to vote?” There are far more basic rights that animals deserve than being able to cast a ballot. (Though I suspect that, if they could vote, our world politics might finally be fixed.) The concept of “animal rights” means a right to live, a right to spread one’s wings, to nurture one’s young, a right to swim long distances. A right to be free from the bonds of slavery.
A fleeting palatial pleasure is not worth a lifetime of torture for anyone. And if it’s human rights you care more about, know that working in a slaughterhouse is one of the most dangerous professions out there. And that the slaughter industry has a history of taking in undocumented laborers abusing their rights.
So, when you support meat and dairy (and fish and eggs, etc.), it’s a lose-lose situation for both you and me.