‘Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat’ by Philip Lymbery #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

farmageddon

Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com

A caveat before I begin this review – a very long time ago I worked for Compassion in World Farming. I’m also a non-dairy consuming pescatarian (occasionally eat fish but definitely no meat and no dairy or eggs) and am still a supporter of CIWF. Philip Lymbery is the CEO of CIWF, a charity that campaigns to end factory farming and to improve the welfare of farm animals around the world.

‘Farmageddon’ is a thought-provoking and very readable account of what is going on in the farming industry worldwide and how that not only has consequences for the animals but also for all of us. I have to be honest, I have a lot more respect for livestock farmers than I do for meat eaters who pop into the supermarket, buy a £2.99 chicken for dinner and don’t for one second think about how that chicken was raised and killed so cheaply. The type of people who put their fingers in their ears and don’t want to know where their food comes from. People seem to still believe that pigs and cows and sheep and chickens all live on Old MacDonald’s Farm, happily chomping away at grass in the fields or pecking in the farmyard, despite all the evidence that’s now available to the contrary.

The consequences of humanity’s reliance on meat are far-reaching and potentially devastating. This book explores in a thoughtful and intelligent way the disasters that have already been caused by our appetite for cheap meat – the decline in the number of birds for example (in the last forty years the population of tree sparrows, grey partridges and skylarks, among others, have plummeted), the threat to bees, and the pollution caused by the need to get rid of the huge amounts of waste produced by the millions and millions of animals now being farmed.

I know from experience that people don’t want to be preached at – and this book isn’t preachy at all. The author isn’t trying to make you vegan – he is just telling you what he has seen, from China to the US, to South America and though Europe, and gives options and alternatives that could see an end to the suffering of those millions of animals (and they do suffer) and better health and a better environment for everyone.

This book is, in my opinion, an absolute must read. It isn’t always comfortable reading, but it’s time we pulled our fingers out of our ears.

5 stars

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15 comments

  1. I’ve added this book to my TBR list, although I don’t know when I’ll find the courage to read it. I have my fingers half in my ears, and I would like to change that. But I think once I read this book, there will be no going back. And as I am responsible for the meals of four people, it will effect more than just me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear – didn’t mean to make you feel guilty 😦 Do give it a read – as I say to Suzanne, it isn’t preachy at all and doesn’t try to convince you to go veggie, just to be more aware of what you’re eating and to make a few changes that make a difference.

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  2. A couple of years ago my vegetarian son-in-law gave me Jonathan Saffran Foer’s Eating Animals for Christmas. I persuaded my husband to read it too. I have always shopped very carefully for free-range meat and NEVER eat chicken when out, but we have now moved closer to being vegetarian. The only meat we eat comes from a special co-operative with very specific local management of all processing and we eat less and less of it. I struggle to find reliable sources of ethically managed fish – any suggestions? One daughter is trying to go vegan. The world’s conscience is moving, though far too slowly.

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    1. I think you’re right – things are changing, but far too slowly. I only buy wild fish which can be pretty hard to find, and we don’t eat it often. It’s a bit of a dilemma because of decreasing fish stocks, but the reality of farmed fish means that’s definitely off the menu. I eat it more when we eat out because it can be pretty hard to find anything vegetarian on a menu that doesn’t involve cheese!

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      1. I suppose it’s one of those things where you need to weigh up the pros and cons. I’m moving further and further away from eating fish because I can’t justify it ethically. But one step at a time… I was really worried about giving up dairy but it was surprisingly easy. I don’t miss milk or cheese at all – in fact I can’t bear the thought of milk or the taste of it now. It’s easier than you think 🙂

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  3. I have never heard of this organisation. I dont really want to give up eating meat, my family would lynch me, they are true carnivores. I found one farm in Ireland where I could order grass fed pork and venison but omg, I couldn’t afford to buy it! €80 plus delivery for a small joint, and then I found out that it is part grain fed anyway. Its really hard to do the right thing!

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    1. The cost is a massive issue – I do agree with you. I tried to switch to organic fruit and veg but the price can be ridiculous, sometimes three times as much, so I just buy some, not all and wonder whether that’s actually pointless!

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      1. Lol! That’s what I do! Surely some has to be better than none at all. I even tried growing a few things but I’m not gifted that way, sadly, cos I have loads of space in my garden. Lets just say I didn’t have much success. 😕

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  4. Reblogged this on Alison Williams Writing and commented:

    In honour of World Vegan Day here’s my review of ‘Farmageddon’. It might not make you go vegan (I’m trying!!!!!) but it will make you think and might help you make small changes that can benefit farm animals and everyone else. I really do recommend it.

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  5. I grew up on a farm but it was a whole world away from the factory farms. A small holding with a herd of Fresians and some chickens. I loved the cows and from a young age would not eat the meat as I couldn`t bear to think of the animals I loved being on my plate. My Uncle was a wonderful caring farmer who explained to me the reverence he had for the animals who gave their lives so we could eat and survive. Then I read “Animal Farm.” The other one. An undercover reporter went into the slaughter houses of Britain. A dire read and one which had me in tears, anger, despair, and worry. Didn’t these people know that the energy from an animal killed in these places can enter into them and make them sick? So I became a true vegetarian. My daughter knows where her food comes from and how. But sadly as she got older she ate from McD’s and Burger K. People do need to know where their food comes from and how it comes to their dinner table. They really do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I think that the biggest issue is that people disassociate the animal from what they’re eating. I’ve seen a lot of horrible videos about the realities of factory farming and slaughter. I think if more people saw the truth, most people would change. I do think there’s a vast difference between factory farming and a lot of other, smaller scale farming, and even a change in this direction would be better than nothing.

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