Moral arguments for ending animal farming, including an instruction guide for those who want to take part in the movement.
Reese, the co-founder and research director of Sentience Institute, a nonprofit whose mission is to expand humanity’s moral circle to include farmed animals, believes that our food system can and should be changed. Animal farming, he writes, is a “moral catastrophe,” and he offers a road map for improving the food system as quickly and reliably as possible. The author sees the emphasis on individual diet change—such as by vegans and vegetarians—as a mistake, and he argues that the focus must be on institutional change, in which companies, social groups, and society at large are targeted. In his view, it is easier to inspire big food companies to switch their production to animal-free versions than to try to take down these billion-dollar corporations. Reese describes the moves recently taken by Whole Foods and other retailers to bring plant-based meat and dairy to market, and he also looks at the new technology of producing meat with cells grown outside an animal’s body. While acknowledging that technological progress can make such cultured meat cost-competitive, the author looks to social change rather than new technologies to bring about the end of animal farming. Consequently, subsequent chapters outline the key strategies that activists should adopt. He cautions against aggressive confrontational tactics, such as throwing fake blood, and urges using stories of individual victims of animal farming to arouse compassion and moral outrage. Near the end, he concludes, “if I had to speculate, I would say by 2100 all forms of farming will seem outdated and barbaric.”
Cautiously optimistic and more analytical and philosophical than downright practical, Reese’s work shows his deep concern for animals and makes clear why others should share it.