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Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory

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ISBN-10: 1118278720

ISBN-13: 9781118278727

Edition: 2013

Authors: Vaclav Smil

List price: $61.95
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This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout history and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and it’s growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their costs, efficiencies and outputs. The major global trends of meat consumption are described: what part does meat play 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 energy costs of meat and the huge impacts of meat production 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 curbed, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein are promoted. Eating Meat is not an ideological tract 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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Book details

List price: $61.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Limited
Publication date: 5/3/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 276
Size: 5.90" wide x 8.90" long x 0.60" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has served as a consultant on energy and the economy for a wide range of organizations and institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Program (UNIDO), and numerous non-governmental organizations. He is author of Back to Full Employment (MIT Press), also in the Boston Review series, and Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Austerity.Vaclav Smil is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of more than thirty books, including <I>Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature</I> and, most recently, <I>Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing,</I> both published by the MIT Press. In 2010 he was named by <I>Foreign Policy</I> as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2013 Bill Gates wrote on his website that "there is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil."

Meat in Nutrition
Meat Eating and Health: Benefits and Concerns
Meat and its nutrients
Meat as a source of food energy
High-quality protein and human growth
Carnivory and civilizational diseases
Diseased meat
Meat in Human Evolution
Hunting Wild Animals: Meat in Human Evolution
Primates and hominins
Meat consumption during the Paleolithic period
Extinction of the late Pleistocene megafauna
Hunting in different ecosystems
Wild meat in sedentary societies
Traditional Societies: Animals, Diets and Limits
Domestication of animals
Population densities and environmental imperatives
Long stagnation of typical meat intakes
Avoidances, taboos and proscriptions
Meat as a prestige food
Meat in Modern Societies
Dietary Transitions: Modernization of Tastes
Urbanization and industrialization
Long-distance meat trade
Meat in the Western dietary transition
Transitions in modernizing economies
Globalization of tastes
Output and Consumption: Modem Meat Chain
Changing life cycles
Slaughtering of animals
Processing meat
Consuming and wasting meat
Making sense of meat statistics
What It Takes to Produce Meat
Modem Meat Production: Practices and Trends
Meat from pastures and mixed farming
Confined animal feeding
Animal feedstuffs
Productivity efficiencies and changes
Treatment of animals
Meat: An Environmentally Expensive Food
Animal densities and aggregate zoomass
Changing animal landscapes
Intensive production of feedstuffs
Water use and water pollution
Meat and the atmosphere
Possible Futures
Toward Rational Meat Eating: Alternatives and Adjustments
Meatless diets
Meat substitutes and cultured meat
Protein from other animal foodstuffs
Less meaty diets
A large potential for rational meat production
Prospects for Change