The Ethical Carnivore by Louise Gray
My Year Killing to Eat

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A courageous and important narrative offering an enlightened perspective on making informed choices about eating meat.


We should all know exactly where our meat comes from. But what if you took this modern day maxim to its logical conclusion? What if you only ate animals you killed yourself?

Fed up of friends claiming to care about the provenance of their food, Louise Gray decides to follow the argument to its logical extreme. Starting small, Louise shucks oysters and catches fish. Gradually she gets to know countrymen and women who teach her how to shoot pigeons and rabbits. As she begins to reconnect with nature and her own upbringing in the countryside, Louise starts to question modern attitudes to the meat we eat.

How did we end up eating so much meat, with no idea how animals are raised and killed on our behalf?

Louise begins to look into how our meat is processed, including the beef in burgers, cheap chicken, bacon and farmed fish. She researches halal slaughter and visits abattoirs to ask whether modern technology can make eating meat more humane.

She goes on a pheasant shoot and onto a grouse moor and contemplates whether there is still a place for game shooting in modern Britain. And she delves into alternative food culture in the UK, sourcing roadkill and cooking herself a lovely bit of squirrel stir-fry.

The biggest animal Louise kills is a red deer stag, a moment she describes in a chapter about taking responsibility, growing up and her relationship with her own father.

Towards the end of her challenge, Louise explores alternative sources of protein, including insects, in vitro meat and plant-based proteins. She reflects on the impact of the growing global demand for meat and argues that all of us eating less meat should be a key part of fighting climate change.

Louise's writing about nature, food and the environment is liberally dashed with humour and she gets to the heart of modern anxieties about where our meat comes from, asking the most important question of all: is it possible to be an ethical carnivore?

About Louise Gray

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Louise Gray is former environment correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, where she covered annual UN talks on climate change, travelled to Paraguay to investigate GM crops, and got more than one scoop on recycling. Since leaving the newspaper at the end of 2013 she has written freelance for The Sunday Times, Guardian,Country Life, and Spectator, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and LBC. • @loubgray
Published September 22, 2016 by Bloomsbury Natural History. 320 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Cooking, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction
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on Sep 17 2016

A courageous and important narrative offering an enlightened perspective on making informed choices about eating meat.

Read Full Review of The Ethical Carnivore: My Yea... | See more reviews from Kirkus