Should We Eat Meat?: Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory

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John Wiley & Sons, Mar 18, 2013 - Technology & Engineering - 280 pages

Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether considering the technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-related aspects of production and consumption.

This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout their evolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs, and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption are described in order to find out what part its consumption plays in changing modern diets in countries around the world. The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" of western diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and at the huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impacts are also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, the author looks forward at his vision of “rational meat eating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein make a higher contribution.

Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for or against carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat's roles in human diets and the environmental and health consequences of its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a wide readership including professionals and academics in food and agricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmental science, and regulatory and policy making bodies around the world.


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User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

Vaclav Smil is a walking contradiction. He’s reportedly Bill Gates favorite scientist. He’s a prolific author of books with densely packed data, that nobody ever reads. He’s personally an ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mitchellray - LibraryThing

Vaclav Smil sets out to answer the question posed by his book’s title, "Should We Eat Meat?" He comes at the question as a scientist without a preconceived answer. He is not trying to justify a ... Read full review


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About the author (2013)

Dr Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba. His interdisciplinary research interests encompass a broad area of energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical, and public policy studies. Dr. Smil has published in more than 30 books, over 400 papers, and contributed to more than 30 edited volumes.

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