Book review: The Meat Paradox by Rob Percival
Percival sets out to explore our psychological relationship with meat
Oscar Wong/Getty Images
There’s no shortage of books pontificating on why we “need to swap the sausage sarnies for tofu tempura”, said Christina Patterson in The Sunday Times. What this one does is “much more interesting”. Rob Percival, the head of food policy for the Soil Association, sets out to explore our “psychological relationship with meat”.
Meat-eating, he believes, involves a “paradox”, said Julian Baggini in The Guardian. Most people feel sympathy for animals – and yet are prepared, by eating meat, to condone their mass slaughter. He sets out to understand what makes these contradictory viewpoints possible.
Percival does a “powerful job” of detailing the damage done by “modern meat-eating”, said Bee Wilson in the Financial Times. And yet his book is impressively nuanced: he also exposes the “chicanery” of some vegan arguments – such as the idea that meat-based diets can never be as healthy as non-meat ones.
Where the book is lacking is in “practical solutions”. Percival believes that meat production urgently needs to change – and yet there is no clear proposal here to “reform a global meat industry that causes so much ethical and environmental harm”.
Little Brown 384pp £18.99; The Week bookshop £14.99
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