As someone that is an animal lover, I had a tough time getting through this book due to the details and of what happens to animals before they are sold on the market as just “meat.” When we are biting into the hamburger, we fail to recognize or remember that the burger was once a breathing animal. This book takes an inside look into the cruelty that is used to get animal meat to the market.
The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, written by James McWilliams, is a book that explores the complicated relationship between humans and animals. To sum it up, “we express genuine affection for some creatures but withhold it from others….by contrast, we’re reluctant to expand our circle of compassion to include animals that we grill and eat.” This fully explains the paradox that is the relationship between humans and animals, and while many others use “survival of the fittest” for their reasoning behind eating animals, it creates a bigger issue. If “survival of the fittest” is to hold true, then why are we not eating domesticated animals like dogs and cats? That is where the “compassionate carnivore” comes in to play. We have people, like me, who are “animal lovers,” yet eat meat on the regular.
James goes deeper by delving into the psychological and historical nature of the bond between human and animal. And while he delves deep into that aspect, I believe that culture also plays a big part into why some people may go as far as to eat domesticated animals. Other factors like where you live, the poverty level, and the economy in the country can all play a part into this issue. And while we may try to eat food that is “cruelty-free,” there is a veil that we must lift into this “cruelty-free” or “humanely raised” stickers that we see in the stores now.
After reading this book, you are really thrown for a loop. As someone that grew up in a Hispanic household, we are used to eating meat practically every day. While I’m a huge animal lover, I never really thought of the meat that I ate as an animal that has emotions just like you and I. The chapters that delve into the “happy farms that claim to offer such a genuine, sustainable, and humane alternative to the industrial operations,” make you rethink your choices when you go shopping. It seems that either way you can’t win, because there are many of these farms that promise one thing but offer another.
This is a book that I highly recommend to everyone. If you want to gain more insight into the human and animal bond, as well as the contradictions that many of us make, then this is the book for you. This is a book that will teach you all you need to know about the current happenings of the ‘compassionate carnivore’ movement that has gained speed. The book is available on Amazon so make sure to pick up your copy.
Twisted Talk: Have you read The Modern Savage? What do you think about our relationship with animals? Discuss below!