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The Face on Your Plate : The Truth about Food
The best-selling author of When Elephants Weep explores our relationship with the animals we call food.
In this revelatory work, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson shows how food affects our moral selves, our health, and the environment. It raises questions to make us conscious of the decisions behind every bite we take: What effect does eating animals have on our land, waters, even global warming? What are the results of farming practices--debeaking chickens and separating calves from their mothers--on animals and humans? How does the health of animals affect the health of our planet and our bodies? And uniquely, as a psychoanalyst, Masson investigates how denial keeps us from recognizing the animal at the end of our fork--think pig, not bacon--and each culture's distinctions among animals considered food and those that are forbidden. The Face on Your Plate brings together Masson's intellectual, psychological, and emotional expertise over the last twenty years into the pivotal book of the food revolution.
Each bite of meat involves the killing of an animal that did not need to die, Masson (When Elephants Weep) reminds readers, and if the advocacy of a completely vegan diet (neither milk nor eggs, in addition to giving up meat and fish) is not particularly new--even Masson acknowledges that he is following the path laid out by authors like Temple Grandin and Michael Pollan--the passion with which the argument is made is immediately apparent. Masson explains the scientific background in simple, effective prose, pointing to the vast environmental damage caused by the modern agriculture-industrial complex, then slams the emotional point home by underscoring the plaintive cries of a calf separated from a mother cow or the psychological stress that hens endure when thrust into small cages. Masson argues that a vegan diet is sufficient to provide us with all the nutrients we need to thrive, using his own daily menus as an example, but his most powerful argument calls upon the power of empathy and a refusal to put animals through suffering. It probably won't convert many confirmed meat eaters, but it should provoke serious deliberation about how our food choices reflect our values. (Mar.)
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W. W. Norton & Company
March 15, 2009
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