The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

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Peter Singer, the groundbreaking ethicist whom The New Yorker calls the most influential philosopher alive teams up again with Jim Mason, his coauthor on the acclaimed Animal Factories, to set their critical sights on the food we buy and eat: where it comes from, how it is produced, and whether it was raised humanely.

The Ethics of What We Eat explores the impact our food choices have on humans, animals, and the environment. Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, Singer and Mason offer ways to make healthful, humane food choices. As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594866872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594866876
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

An outstanding, balanced and persuasive text

26 people found this helpful.
 on May 4, 2007
By Dave G
This book is an excellent introduction for those who want to find out more about where our food comes from. It is not preachy or aggressive. Rather, it opens your mind to the various arguments, while still offering the authors’ views on the ethics of different food choices.

Ethical Consumption

31 people found this helpful.
 on July 25, 2007
By Equestrian Veggie
There are several books lining the shelves that contain information on animal rights, vegetarianism, and organic and fair trade food items. However, none seem quite as well-rounded, or nearly as objective and succinct as Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s The Ethics of What We Eat. These two authors have put together an incredibly well-crafted and unbiased argument regarding making ethical choices at the grocery store, and “voting” with one’s diet and wallet.

Very hard to read, hard to forget, but a powerful read

22 people found this helpful.
 on July 26, 2012
By Laura Smith
Like the school bully who gets in his hardest kicks once you’re down on the ground and have essentially given up, this book drives home a message in powerful, painful punches. “For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows about what’s happening before the meat hits the plate, the better… one of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people in the developed countries are several generations removed from the farm and haven’t a clue how animals are raised and processed.” (p.11) With this, Peter Singer lobs the ball in the air and then proceeds to light the court on fire.

Very good, but. . .

25 people found this helpful.
 on May 3, 2007
By Stephanie Rose Bird
I really enjoy this book and found it to be very informative and inspirational in terms of eating more carefully. I just feel that the title is a little misleading. It doesn’t say much about the problems with non-meat that we eat such as wheat and grains—which many don’t tolerate well and they take up a lot of natural resources like water and space as opposed to some things grown using agroforestry like bananas, mangoes, plantain and coconuts–which feed a lot of people and take up less space (from animals) and less water. They talk alot about eating local which I agree with to a large extent but I also know it is helpful to people with fragile economies when we eat produce they grow–it actually helps others outside of the United States. Then too there is the issue of clearing land and maintaining it with ploughs which kills lots of indigenous wildlife like rabbits and other small animals as well as nesting birds. So while I really enjoy the concept of this book and realize it contains vital information for the public, I hope in future editions they will address some of the other issues people are less familiar with at this point, like eating cash crops grown by indigenous people, leaning more on agroforestry and less on massive land crops that kill animals and use nature resources.

and hands on experience to provide excellent insight into these questions

2 people found this helpful.
 on July 23, 2015
By Andre
For quite some time I had been concerned about the effects of my eating habits, however I had been overwhelmed with all of the information and options that were out there. I had many questions: Are all animals wrong to eat? Is there anything wrong with milk and eggs? What does cage free, humane certified really mean? What are the reasons (other than health claims) for going organic?

Wait! What am I eating?

One person found this helpful.
 on October 17, 2013
By Alicia Crumpton
A powerfully written discussion about food production, food choices, and the importance of consciously considering how our food is grown, treated, and delivered. Singer’s opening line: “We don’t usually think of what we eat as a matter of ethics” (p. 3). Gulp. He’s right, I was, still am sometimes, an unconscious purchaser and consumer. I was convicted after reading this book to be more conscious, more educated, more deliberate in understanding what I’m eating, where and how it was grown, and the practices surrounding it. This is the power of this book! It’s a tough commitment to live up to. Admittedly, there are days when I fail miserably (sigh). But I’m no longer unconscious and this is a start.

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