I’m a big fan of reading books that expound the virtues of my own diet – vegetarianism – and The Ethical Carnivore definitely ticks that box. The book chronicles environmental journalist Louise Gray’s attempts to go a whole year (in actuality more like three) only eating meat she has killed herself. Alongside accounts of her attempts at hunting and fishing, Gray explores the modern meat industry and its impact on the environment, the economy, and animal welfare.
Comparable to Foer’s Eating Animals (or even, in some regards, Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation), Gray’s book had a slightly different feel about it, one that I chalk up to her exploration of British factory farming rather than what I usually read about: America. The UK seems to be more heavily regulated so Gray’s exploration of modern farming practices wasn’t quite as brutal as I’m use to reading about but they are still incredibly moving. Especially as Gray has to deal with her own feelings regarding the slaughter of animals and sustainability.
Not just a read for smug vegetarians like myself – Gray offers solutions and examples of how the meat industry and animal welfare groups could and have worked together for the benefit of all involved. Personally, I have a lot of respect for Gray and her efforts to find a way to kill and eat meat humanely and sustainably.
All-in-all, this was a great read for me. It discussed a lot of issues I was already familiar with but the idea of an “ethical carnivore” and her positive spin on hunting definitely opened my eyes to a different way of living and eating. Recommended to anyone who has ever eaten food before.