In the last four decades, food reformers have revealed the ecological and ethical problems of eating animals raised in industrial settings, turning what was once the boutique concern of radical eco-freaks into a mainstream movement. Although animal products are often labeled "cage free," "free range," and "humanely raised," can we trust these goods to be safe, sound, or ethical?
In The Modern Savage, renowned writer, historian, and animal advocate James McWilliams pushes back against the questionable moral standards of a largely omnivorous world and explores the "alternative to the alternative"—not eating domesticated animals at all. In poignant, powerful, and persuasive prose, McWilliams reveals the scope of the cruelty that takes place even on the smallest and—supposedly—most humane animal farms. In a world increasingly aware of animals' intelligence and the range of their emotions, McWilliams advocates for the only truly moral, sustainable choice—a diet without meat, dairy, or other animal products.
In the spirit of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma, McWilliams's The Modern Savage is a riveting expose of an industry that has typically hidden behind a veil of morality, and a compelling account of how to live a more economical, environmental, and ethical life.
"McWilliams has issued a powerful challenge to the 'compassionate omnivore' movement. The Modern Savage is a book that everyone concerned about food, animals and the environment should read."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University
"James McWilliams ably demonstrates that we've often underestimated the mental lives of farm animals, and that we need to start taking their interests more seriously. He doesn't skirt tough issues nor does he take positions based on what may be popular at the time. Such a moral accounting would lead to a revolution in both how we produce food and what food we eat."—Paul Shapiro, vice president, The Humane Society of the United States
"James McWilliams accomplishes something at once simple and profound. He explains in plain, accessible, and highly readable language what follows if we reject factory farming as morally reprehensible animal abuse, as most of us do. First, if animals matter morally, then killing them in any context is always wrong when we have a vegan alternative. Second, consumers of "humane" or "sustainable" animal-based foods will be surprised to learn that animal suffering routinely attends local and small-scale animal farming. McWilliams tells a riveting story while building an unassailable argument for veganism as the answer to our well-justified revulsion towards industrialized animal agriculture."—Sherry F. Colb, Professor of Law, Cornell University, and author of Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger and Other Questions People Ask Vegans
Reviews from Goodreads
The horror that stirs deep in man is an obscure awareness that in him something lives so akin to the animal that it might be recognized.