Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hal Herzog

Hal Herzog's new book is Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat.

From his Q & A with Kerry Lauerman at

Why is it so hard to think straight about animals?

I think it's the human-meat relationship. The fact is, very few people are vegetarians; even most vegetarians eat meat. There have been several studies, including a very large one by the Department of Agriculture, where they asked people one day: Describe your diet. And 5 percent said they were vegetarians. Well, then they called the same people back a couple of days later and asked them about what they ate in the last 24 hours. And over 60 percent of these vegetarians had eaten meat. And so, the fact is, the campaign for moralized meat has been a failure. We actually kill three times as many animals for their flesh as we did when Peter Singer wrote "Animal Liberation" [in 1975]. We eat probably 20 percent more meat than we did when he wrote that book. Even though people are more concerned about animals, it seems like that's been occurring. The question is, why?

And, by the way, I think that the argument against eating meat is very strong.

On many levels. Michael Pollan's mantra of "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants," along with the larger understanding that meat eating puts an incredible burden on the planet, has created a new energy around vegetarianism. But is it just the same people who have always kind of been concerned about this stuff?

No, I think not necessarily. I think there are also cases of, for example, the passage of the chicken welfare proposition in California [Proposition 2]; that passed, while the gay marriage proposition on the same ballot was defeated. The chicken amendment -- it was chickens and pigs -- there was no party affiliation. Both liberals and conservatives voted for that. So I think in some ways we are more concerned about animal welfare than ever before. So it's actually a great paradox.

I think the fact is that...[read on]
Visit Hal Herzog's homepage.

--Marshal Zeringue