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Beyond Beef


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Cattle and other livestock consume more than one third of the world's grain while billions of people go hungry. Meanwhile, affluent Americans, Europeans and Japanese gorge on beef and increasingly die from heart disease, cancer and other diseases closely correlated with consumption of meat and dairy products. Rifkin ( Entropy ) drives home the moral paradoxes inherent in this situation in a timely, tremendously important book that ranks with Peter Singer's Animal Liberation and John Robbins's Diet for a New America as a call to nutritional sanity, environmental ethics and awakened conscience. The chapter on lax inspection procedures and abysmal conditions in slaughterhouses is shocking. Backed by persuasive evidence, Rifkin states that cattle are a major cause of pollution, deforestation, desertification and, through the methane they produce, global warming. Charting the human-bovine relationship from the Lascaux caves to the junk-food hamburger, he suggestively argues that beef-eating has helped support male dominance, gender and class hierarchies, and myths of meat as a sign of strength and virility. (Feb.)

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