This catalogue of devastation will convince anyone who doubts that industrial farming is causing ecological meltdown. With every meal we eat, we choose whether or not to contribute to these problems. The businesses we buy our food from are our servants; they want to keep us happy. Eating less meat and wasting less food will offset any higher price you pay for improved animal welfare — your overall food budget will go down as noticeably as your risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

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Mar 12, Zade rated it really liked it I was hesitant to read this book because I figured it would be an anti-meat screed from a radical animal rights activist, ala PETA.

And I am so very, very glad I did. I was hesitant to read this book because I figured it would be an anti-meat screed from a radical animal rights activist, ala PETA. Despite my early misgivings, Lymbery is no radical vegan activist. The essential argument of the book is that farm animals need not be raised in inhumane conditions and that the current system of doing so concentrated animal feeding operations, vast battery-cage chicken "farms," intensive sea farming of fish, etc.

Lymbery demonstrates, step by devastating step, how truly expensive our current methods of raising meat truly are. By the time one adds in monoculture crops of GMO grains for animal feed, transportation, chemical fertilizers, medications, and growth agents, industrial infrastructure and its maintenance--never mind the decreased nutritional value of the food and the increased risk of super-bug creation and infection--it is shockingly clear that without the subsidies that keep food cheap, none of us would be able to afford meat at all under the current model.

Lymbery is not just criticizing, however. He offers concrete suggestions for alternate ways of producing and consuming meat, as well as steps readers can take right now both to improve their own health and enjoyment and to support sustainable, humane husbandry of food animals. This hopeful, can-do approach is a welcome change from all the "meat is murder" negativity and absolutist rhetoric one so often finds in books on this topic. There is a ton of information in this book, but the facts and figures never become overwhelming because Lymbery incorporates them into narrative accounts of his own travels and the lives of real people from countries all over the world.

He has a knack for making statistics into stories that connect to the reader in a very human and even personal way. Much of the information will be familiar to people who take an interest in the subject though I learned new things as well.

Some of the stuff in there is truly shocking It ends on a Excellent, lucid account of how modern factory farming harms animals, humans and the environment alike. It ends on a note of optimism that a combination of geo-engineering and a return to a more balanced diet and way of farming can solve the enormous problems factory farming has caused.


Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery – review

The authors seek to shed light on the conditions in intensive agriculture which, according to them, often differ from the image that the industry wants to sell to the public. Intensification in animal farming goes along with a growing demand of cropland to grow animal feed — factory farming is thus not a means to save space. There he finds dairies where 10, cows can be milked at once. A visit is paid to the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, US where he finds the marine ecosystem impacted by waste from the poultry industry. The author talks to a community in Mexico in an area dominated by pig sheds. There he documents a lake of effluent and air and water pollution, and discusses the outbreak of swine flu.


Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat




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