This 138 page book on the morality of eating animals is set out into three sections. Firstly: an introduction and a simple examination of human nature when it comes to ethical issues surrounding the debate on eating animals. This is titled ‘We’re all Michael Vick: Our moral schizophrenia’. It examines why the public was so outraged when Vick was found out to not only be involved in dog fighting, but the ring leader. He was in charge of raising dogs, training them to fight and also putting them down when they were too damaged to carry on, or if they were inferior. This resulted in a public defamation of him based on the moral argument that the suffering of animals cannot be justified by profit or pleasure. Francione and Charlton use this same line of argument to include the eating of animals: consumption for pleasure, or as they call it ‘palate pleasure’. They move on from this to give a general view of what Veganism entails, from arguments against, to conversations with friends and family.
They then move onto to section two which is titled ‘”but”: The excuses we use and why they don’t work’. This section spreads over 85 pages and is the main meat (pun intended) of the book. It goes into details of what the common refutations to Veganism are. Including questions about protein, iron, calcium and calorie intake. Becoming ill from not eating animal products. The naturalistic argument and the argument of human superiority over animals via God’s authority. The famous desert island argument. Tradition and if fish feel pain. Personal choice and being the apex predator. And why these attempts at refuting the claim that not using animal products is okay, don’t work.
The last section is a conclusion on all the previous sections, concluding (not surprisingly) that Veganism is morally superior and is part of our duty on this planet to bring to a greater popularity. This book is useful for anyone curious about the facts concerning a change of diet from animal products to a Vegan diet, or for Vegetarians wanting to go that step further. In general the arguments are sound and logically follow. Although that doesn’t change the fact that most arguments for and against Veganism are emotionally based. However, it is refreshing to read a book on such a sensitive subject that doesn’t take an emotive stance which anyone who doesn’t already agree with the authors would find repulsive, and quite frankly: unreadable.