Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Title: The Compassionate Carnivore
Author: Catherine Friend
Genre: non-fiction, food issues, animals

Factory farming first hit home to me in March 2008. My husband and I were driving home on the interstate from Gainesville, Florida, when a semi passed by me. This semi was full of live chickens crammed together throughout the bed of the truck. I remember it was cold out and that there were lots of feathers floating through the air. My husband and I looked at each other, horrified, decided we were not going to have chicken for dinner that night, and my research into American food issues began....

Catherine Friend runs a small farm with her partner in the rolling hills of Minnesota. Although Catherine is a carnivore over the last few years she has worried how her meat consumption affects the planet and the lives of animals destined for the slaughterhouse. In a non-preachy tone, Catherine walks the reader through the increased meat consumption in the US, the rise of industrialization after WWII, the increase of corporations buying out farms, the decrease in small, local, family farms and step by step through the slaughtering process (not an easy section to read). If you want to continue eating meat while supporting your local farmers, Catherine Friend walks you through a list of questions to ask the farmer and butcher. She also advocates buying from small, conventional farmers: they need the money, they will be willing to try organic, grass-fed methods if the customers request it and have established relationships with the farmer. Friend also explains why organic, grass-fed organic meat is more expensive and encourages the reader to take baby steps in their eating-local strategy; she even admits to "falling off the (meat) wagon" especially when busy or when she has an empty freezer.

I would recommend this to meat eaters that want to be responsible meat buyers and don't want to be preached at while doing research.

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