Eat This Book: A Carnivore's Manifesto (Critical Perspectives on Animals: Theory, Culture, Science, and Law)
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If we want to improve the treatment of animals, Dominique Lestel argues, we must acknowledge our evolutionary impulse to eat them and we must expand our worldview to see how others consume meat ethically and sustainably. The position of vegans and vegetarians is unrealistic and exclusionary. Eat This Book calls at once for a renewed and vigorous defense of animal rights and a more open approach to meat eating that turns us into responsible carnivores.
Lestel skillfully synthesizes Western philosophical views on the moral status of animals and holistic cosmologies that recognize human-animal reciprocity. He shows that the carnivore's position is more coherently ethical than vegetarianism, which isolates humans from the world by treating cruelty, violence, and conflicting interests as phenomena outside of life. Describing how meat eaters assume completely―which is to say, metabolically―their animal status, Lestel opens our eyes to the vital relation between carnivores and animals and carnivores' genuine appreciation of animals' life-sustaining flesh. He vehemently condemns factory farming and the terrible footprint of industrial meat eating. His goal is to recreate a kinship between humans and animals that reminds us of what it means to be tied to the world.
should human beings be considered speciesists if they are willing to kill a cow but not a human being in order to eat? Or, to put the point more precisely, why would they be more speciesist than a panther? It is clear to me that being willing to act in the same way as all predatory species is the only truly antispeciesist position inasmuch as I recognize myself to be a member of a community of animals and do not have any pretention to elevate myself above other species. Thus, paradoxically, a
absolutely incompatible with Mickey Mouse’s universe, even if we have abandoned once and for all the old Kiplingesque vision of the law of the jungle. Darwin ultimately understood, although with great difficulty, how species evolve without a Grand Organizer by means of mutual selection. He recognized that all species are constantly in competition with one another and that the least-adaptive species (which are not necessarily the weakest) disappear to the advantage of the more adaptive ones.
their conduct. All too often, they manifest a shameful and defensive attitude that is neither convincing nor effective as a response to the aggression of the vegetarian with whom they find themselves in conflict. A defense of meat eating is, however, possible on purely ethical grounds. The fundamental rules of life apply to all human beings without exception, and one of the most important principles for preserving harmony on earth is precisely the one that vegetarians reject most vigorously: the
produced by making them consume mass products.”6 His analysis of the atomic bomb can be applied to meat factories without any significant changes: people “know” only in a superficial way, without knowing what they know, and they conduct their analyses through recourse to inadequate categories. Just as they did in connection with the atomic bomb, they think of meat factories only as “means,” without realizing that the pair means–end no longer has any meaning today and that “the production of means
theocracy are possible. The first, which is rationalist in the extreme, assumes that a situation as irrational as that of industrial meat can be resolved only by strategies that are themselves irrational and seek to mobilize “disembodied minds,” which are certainly imaginary but psychologically very persuasive. On the second interpretation, institutions such as meat factories show that human beings have entered into a situation of complete cognitive bankruptcy in which what is truly needed is the