cover image Eating with Conscience: Bioethics for Consumers

Eating with Conscience: Bioethics for Consumers

Charles Fox, Michael W. Fox. NewSage Press, $14.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-939165-30-8

There's no question where Fox, a veterinarian and long-time Humane Society official, stands on how food is produced in this country. But can he convince the skeptics? In this persuasive illumination of the inner workings of the national food industry, Fox (The Boundless Circle) relies on numbers, and lots of them, rather than shrill rhetoric. For example, he reports that 7000 calves, 130,000 cattle, 360,000 pigs and 24 million chickens are killed every day (the average American consumes 2400 animals in a lifetime). Fox considers food-borne diseases resulting from virtually uninspected slaughtering conditions ""as the new plagues,"" like the 1992-1994 ""mad cow"" disease in Britain. A year later in the U.S., more than 10 million ""diseased, dead, dying, and debilitated cattle"" and other consumable animals were ""rendered"" into other products. Corporations have reduced hands-on family farmers to 2% of the population; one-third of the topsoil of cropland has been lost in the last century, a loss Fox attributes primarily to livestock production; and about 150 million pounds of herbicides are spread on crops annually. Fox stresses that individuals can do something, including simply eating more vegetables; according to the British Medical Journal, ""Vegetarians are 40% less likely to die of cancer than meat eaters."" Fox also urges consumers to protest federal subsidies for foreign marketing by giant food conglomerates. Anyone who eats will remember this the next time at table as a shivering, cautionary tale. (Dec.)