Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Face on Your Plate by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (a review)

The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food
2 out of 5: In The Face on Your Plate, Masson means to persuade readers to give up eating meat and all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and honey. There’s not enough room in this slim volume for well-supported arguments, so Masson resorts to dogmatic statements like the following:

No animal under domestication, with the possible exception of the cat, leads the life it was designed to lead by nature. All of the changes that humans have managed to create, mainly through selective breeding, are not intended for the benefit of the animal. We benefit; the animals suffer the consequences. Does this mean that if we care about animal suffering and about the quality of their lives, we need to give up eating all animal-derived food? I am afraid so. I see no other conclusion possible for me personally.
The Face on Your Plate is filled with such conclusory and somewhat condescending statements, and, as a result, is not overly informative or persuasive, or, for that matter, particularly enjoyable to read. On the topics addressed by Masson, there are so many better books out there. The one shining attribute of The Face on Your Plate is its exhaustive appendix, which lists books and websites on the topics of animal rights, the industrial food complex and its effect on the environment, and sustainable food choices. This listing is comprehensive and up-to-date and will point you to the right books.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you reviewed this. I had been wondering about it. He's sort of an odd writer. I have always been interested in his topics, but never in his treatment of them!

Steph said...

Just reading that excerpt made me flare with hot rage. I will definitely avoid this book because I know it will drive me insane.

Lisa said...

I'm with Steph; that book would drive me insane! He's absolutely right - they are not leading the life they were intended to lead. If they were, they would be slaughtered by something bigger and faster. Rabbits in the wild don't die of old age in their den, surrounded by all their great-grand-bunnies. They get old, slow down a hop and get eaten by a fox.

Zibilee said...

I don't like feeling I am being preached to while I am reading a book. I think that this book would really make me mad, and I will not be reading it. I wish that some people would realize that vegetarianism or veganism is not for everybody, and stop trying to pressure everyone into it.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, from these responses I'm surprised that any of you were even remotely interested in reading this book. What were you hoping for? Did you want the author to tell you that the cow on the cover is just waiting and hoping that you'd eat it. Come on people. Wake up and read something that may open your eyes. It's always a good idea to get opposing p.o.v.s. Try it out, you could actually learn something or at least confirm your original beliefs. Either way, nothing is lost.