Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (May 28, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #373,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #88 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Pies #116 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Pastry #689 in Books > Science & Math > Agricultural Sciences > Food Science
Smil looks at the history of humans and meat, the ethics of meat eating, health of meat eating (protein plays an important part in this discussion), animal nutrition, and the sustainability of meat eating. All are given a detailed look, with many references to studies. Ultimately, Smil concludes that meat-eating is sustainable, at a certain, fairly high level, if do-able sustainable agricultural practices are more widely used and less sustainable ones are stopped. A critical point is that livestock can make plant products that aren't really usable by humans for feed (grass, citrus peels, food processing residues, etc.) and convert then into food, so that livestock can add to the human food supply without using foods that are directly consumable by people, such as corn. Milk, eggs, and seafood are also touched on but are not the main topic of this book.I'll present some of his reasoning here: Page 182: "But the prevalence of these objectional practices and the validity of these concerns are not convincing arguments against meat eating. Those practices are not inherent prerequisites of large scale meat production; they are essentially malpractices committed as a part of a short-sighted quest of maximizing meat output at minimized cost. Our understanding of livestock requirements, feed production and animal feeding, slaughtering and processing makes it possible to practice balanced and rational ways of meat production aimed at minimizing its environmental impacts and maximizing its health benefits.
Smil doesn't tell you to eat meat or to refrain. He does explain his own diet and yes, he does eat meat, but not much and no hamburgers. The beginning of the book for me was a haze of the chemistry of nutrition, I did not understand much. Once he started on meat in human evolution, I found it easier to follow, but who could stay up with Smil? How has he written so many books, absorbed so many facts and figures? I think the key to his remarkable talent is that he treats facts surely but lightly, finds other qualities more important than statistics. As if the Olympic Champion Usain Bolt runs fast for us but usually flies instead of running. Smil gives exhaustive statistics on meats consumption in different countries with particular attention to, well, every country: Japan, China, Spain, France, Great Britain, the USA, Brazil. The world, especially poor countries, eats more and more meat. Turkeys, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, beef. Chickens makeup more and more of the meat we eat. The poor things are oh so crowded, they can't turn around in their cages and Smil gets into this. He is very concerned that we make our meat production more humane. He builds no pens or cages, but he is humane for watch how he uses language, no buzz words, he is never glib. "Sustainable" doesn't appear, nor "footprint." He is not sure what they mean. Smil is utterly out of the ordinary and can be read for knowledge or style. Most authors leave their reader with a scientific or political hangover, but not Smil. He does indulge in remote words. None are too long or arcane. Quantities of energy are never translated as they easily could be. Mega joules could be represented by gallons (excuse me, liters) of diesel, if we are discussing tractors. Should we eat meat?
Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory Meat Recipes and Outdoor Cooking Box Set (5 in 1): Over 200 Smoking Meat, Slow Cooker Beef, Dutch Oven, Foil Packet and Jerky Recipes for True Meat Lovers (Smoker Recipes & Jerky) The Candida Control Cookbook: What You Should Know and What You Should Eat to Manage Yeast Infections (New Revised & Updated Edition) Mock Meat: 50 Vegan Meat Substitute Recipes to Soothe the Carnivores Within & Around You - Mock Chicken, Mock Beef, Mock Pork, Mock Fish, and More! (Veganized Recipes Book 6) Smoker Recipes: Irresistible Spicy Smoking Meat, Hamburger, Smoked Chicken and Pork for Your Best Barbecue (Smoking Meat & Barbecue Guide) Why Should I Eat Well? (Why Should I? Books) Grandma's Meat Pies: Savory, Low-Budget Meat Pie Recipes! (Farmhouse Favorites) Smoking Meat Cookbook: 25 Delicious Recipes For The Best Barbecue You Ever Had (Rory's Meat Kitchen) King of the Smoke: 25 Greatest Smoking Meat Recipes To Impress Your Friends & Family (Rory's Meat Kitchen) Eat Meat And Stop Jogging: 'Common' Advice On How To Get Fit Is Keeping You Fat And Making You Sick Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat Dr. Earl Mindell's What You Should Know About Fiber and Digestion (What You Should Know Health Management Series) Should I Stay or Should I Go?: The Truth about Moving Abroad and Whether It's Right for You The Big Book of Words You Should Know: Over 3,000 Words Every Person Should be Able to Use (And a few that you probably shouldn't) 100 Things Sharks Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die (100 Things...Fans Should Know) Jokes Every Man Should Know (Stuff You Should Know) Dirty Jokes Every Man Should Know (Stuff You Should Know) Stuff Every Husband Should Know (Stuff You Should Know) 42 Guitar Chords Everyone Should Know: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering 42 Of The Most Important Guitar Chords (Everyone Should Know Books) Quotes Every Man Should Know (Stuff You Should Know)