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Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old Macdonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat
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Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old Macdonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  94 reviews
For most of her life, Catherine Friend was a carnivore who preferred not to consider where the meat on her plate came from--beef didn't have a face, chicken didn't have a personality, and pork certainly shouldn't have feelings. But Friend's attitude began to change after she and her partner bought a farm and began raising sheep for meat. Friend's ensuing odyssey through th ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
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Petra-X Off having adventures
This was a load of rot. Written by two women, a couple, who have made their packet and have given up the city life to have a green farm and breed mostly sheep.

The book's purpose is to tell us all that we should eat local meat where we have personally inspected the farm (seriously, the author gives details on exactly how to find local farms to inspect and how much to 'tip' the farmer for showing you around even if you are later going to give him hundreds of dollars for his animals). It is recomm
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks-food
I have been a vegetarian for over twenty years now. For about the past three years, I have - for a couple of personal reasons - been considering eating meat again. Pretty much every website is extremely biased - either "If you're a vegetarian, you're an idiot!" or "If you're not a vegetarian, you're an idiot!" and one day about a month ago I was frustrated, thinking, "If only there was a book to help me think about this... relatively unbiased, to present a 'good' way to go about eating meat, if ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2014

Get ready to quit your life and start a farm. Don't name your animals though because you will feel sad when you send them off to slaughter. It's okay to name them though if you are only going to slaughter their babies.

Okay, the author doesn't actually say quit your life and start a farm. She just assumes you have a fuckton of financial resources and a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance.

I rated this low because I don't see myself recommending it to anyone. I appreciate the detail given to
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I probably don't need to tell you what this book is really about but I will anyway: factory farms suck. If you're going to eat meat, please please please buy it from a small farmer who knows their animals and do yourself a favor to ask the right questions to find out how the animal was raised AND killed.

That said, this was one of the best food books I've read. Friend and her partner own a sheep farm and her perspective as a farmer, animal-lover, AND meat-eater is unique and strong. I feel like
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was good. I used to be a vegetarian. I just sort of fell into eating meat again. Inattentiveness, I think. Laziness--it was easier to cook one rather than 2 meals (and now three). So I was eating meat and sort of looking the other way. I preferred not thinking past the plastic wrap. When I saw this book at the library I felt I should read it. As a way of taking responsibility.

She writes well. A lot of what she had to say was difficult to read. But in between the hard stuff s
Part of the reason I disliked this book may be that it was just not the book for me at this time as a reader. Part of it may be that much of the arguments Friend makes are things I have seen in other books such as Fast Food Nation and Supersize Me. I will admit that I skimmed parts of the book due to the repetition. It is not that I disagree with the arguments; it's just that I have seen a lot of the stuff before, so I did not really need to see it again. The memoir parts, to be honest, had a li ...more
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-farming
I was disappointed by this book because I was looking for it to be something other than what it was. I felt it was somewhat repetitive and didn't have much true information in it. Also, I was shocked that Catherine Friend didn't ever actually witness the "compassionate" slaughter of her own food-farm-animals, so how could she really know? While that is a personal choice, the whole point of the book was about creating a connection to your food and killing it responsibly. I expected more. As someo ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: determined meat-eaters who still want to eat more ethically
A decent, personal, honest look at modern animal agriculture. I didn't agree with all of Friend's arguments, but they were coherent, without the mental backflips of authors like Nina Planck and Michael Pollan.

If you're debating whether or not to go vegetarian/vegan, there are better books out there—at the very least, take a look at Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, which considers the arguments much more thoroughly. But if you're committed to eating meat but still want to eat a little more ethic
Jul 11, 2016 marked it as xx-dnf-skim-reference
Picked up to see if I really do like Friend's style, before I work harder to hunt down her other books. And the subject matter seemed potentially interesting. Well, I will look for her memoir and her children's books. But I will not bother to read all of this. The conclusion is unsatisfying and I have no idea how she could have said anything meaningful to lead up to it. For myself, I will continue to serve beans, tvp, egs, and fish as much as I can get away with, given my very carnivorous family ...more
Elizabeth Topliff
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it
If you care where your meat comes from and how it's treated from birth until it reaches your plate, then read this caring, practical, quirky story told by a Minnesota lamb farmer. She discusses the best meat options for us with consideration to nutritional value, humane treatment of animals, environmental impacts, and concern for genetically modified feed/growth hormone (rBst)/antibiotic fed food animals. ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, owned-books, humor
Ms. Friend loves eating meat. She makes no bones about it. But neither does she preach nor take cheap potshots against vegans or vegetarians. She refuses to take part in the charged debates between vegans and meat-lovers. What her book does is outline her path from a thoughtless meat-eater and consumer of convenient fast food to someone who’s learned to take a close look at where her meat comes from and how the animals are treated.

Her book is thoughtful, in depth and shines with intelligence and
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very unsatisfying account of how to eat animals in a humane way. Makes a series of presumptions about the necessity and value of killing animals. Would've preferred something more incisive. Makes an interesting economic argument at the end about the value of supporting more humane practices rather than abstaining from purchasing meat. ...more
John McKenna
Mar 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
As a meat eater I was eager to learn how I could still eat animals and say I love them but this book was disappointing and poorly written. The arguments were unsubstantiated and it relied heavily on anecdotal arguments which didn't really make sense. Unsatisfying and a waste of time. I guess I'll keep looking... ...more
Hana Russell
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great practical guide

I wish I'd read this book before I started eating more ethical meat! It really breaks down concrete steps (like ordering meat from a farmer and having to get it from a butcher or how to have a conversation with a farmer about visiting their farm).

10/10 would reread and recommend to friends looking into ethical meat eating.
Not everyone wants to be a vegetarian, but the author argues that if you choose to eat meat, you should be aware of the different ways animals are raised and sold for eating and make their choices based on knowledge. The author and her partner have a small farm where sheep are raised in pastures and treated humanely.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Meggan recommended this book to me and I started reading it, thinking that it was going to be a bit boring, sort of, "blah, blah, blah, I've already read plenty about this stuff. I know it all." Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I think it's the best book I've read so far in terms of helping to convince me that we need to change our meat eating habits. It's also the book that I will now be recommending to anyone who asks me about why we eat meat the way we do. It's a bit more approachable than O ...more
I read the author's first book, "Hit By A Farm", and really enjoyed it. This one however, felt forced and rushed to me, and I didn't find it nearly as informative or entertaining to read. The author raises some good points, but lacks the follow through to really make an impact.

Catherine Friend runs a sheep farm with her partner Melissa. They are low scale farmers, and produce a small amount of sheep bound for the slaughter as compared to larger farms or factory farms. But because of her daily wo
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pretty good book. I borrowed it for a balanced perspective on the food/meat issue and I guess I got it. While I maintain my principles about boycotting meat altogether, I accept that I will have to agree to disagree with the writer who does offer an alternative to many omnivores out there reluctant to give up their meat.

In this book Friend explores in depth an issue that was briefly touched on by Foer in "Eating Animals" - small, sustainably-run humane farms. And for those who hold the fundamen
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is great, and one I would recommend to anyone who cares even the slightest about their food and where it comes from - how it lived and died. I've tried and failed many times to give up meat, and just this week I was told that hey, this is how it is, one person can't change anything, just face facts. Catherine Friend shows that this way of thinking is not only dumb, but untrue. We vote with our dollars whether we are going to eat factory meat, where the animals live and die miserably, or ...more
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Factory farming first hit home to me in March 2008. My husband and I were driving home on the interstate from Gainesville, Florida, when a semi passed by me. This semi was full of live chickens crammed together throughout the bed of the truck. I remember it was cold out and that there were lots of feathers floating through the air. My husband and I looked at each other, horrified, decided we were not going to have chicken for dinner that night, and my research into American food issues began.... ...more
Amanda Reynolds-Gregg
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! In the last couple of years, I've been reading a lot about the food industry thanks to helpful authors like Michael Pollan, Michael Moss, and Lucie Amundsen. Now I can add Catherine Friend to the ranks. Her book outlines a very simple idea that can cause emotional and mental distress to many of us carnivores - the idea of still enjoying our meat while endeavoring to make sure that the animals involved are humanely raised as possible. Not only does she showcase how this makes t ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the author's no-nonsense, completely graspable philosophy about simply becoming AWARE of where your non-locally-raised meat comes from. She didn't use fear or guilt tactics, she simply stated the facts in a fun and entertaining way -- with lots of notes, resources and references along the way.

For the people who read this book and thought the author was recommending vegetarianism over eating factory farmed meats: you missed the point. She even admitted to eating quick and easy meat-based
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books, 2014
I started reading this book because I was thinking of becoming a vegetarian again, and this caught my eye at a book sale in my town. Reading it, I had no idea how impacting it would be.

The point of this book is, as the title suggests, to make us become more conscientious about the meat we consume-- how much we eat a year, how many animals die in vain from plate loss and wasted food, and how the animals on the farms that provide the meat are treated.

I think a major thing that changed was my persp
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is NOT an argument about whether it is right or wrong to use animals as food. This book shows meat-eaters (and milk-drinkers) how they can improve the lot of milk, egg and meat-producing animals; how to improve the life-quality of livestock to make things healthier for us, the animals and the environment. Does a good job of describing the different methods of farming (factory vs pasture, caged vs barn-bound vs free-range vs feedlot), what 'organic' certification means (not always as green a ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it
An interesting perspective from the farmers point of view. Time will tell if humane husbandry, and the higher costs associated with it, is viable economically. In the mean time it is quite difficult to find meat products in the Los Angeles area that conform to this ideal. The other practical problem with this approach is that of demand - in order to support the current supply of meat in the US we would have to utilize every inch of land not used for crops for livestock pasture. Not sure how peop ...more
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who eats food (even vegans)
This book is a straight forward, super-accessible read that I'd recommend to anyone who wants to try to eat better -- for themselves, the environment, the animals, and the economy. Filled with practical advice and real examples of ways we can all be more compassionate in our food choices, and why it's important to not just "walk away from the table". Plus, there's the added bonus that the author doesn't make you feel like crap if you slip up and eat a factory-raised animal product on occasion. A ...more
Alexa Hamilton
Jun 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: green-ish, food
Don't give up meat! That's a message I can deal with. Catherine Friend provides information on farming, factory farming and what it means to be a carnivore at this moment in time. She advocates doing what you can, in the manner of Michale Pollan, and voting with your food dollars by giving them to small, sustainable farmers raising animals the way you prefer (grass-fed? grass-finished? conventional? no problem!) rather than giving up meat entirely. I liked the book because I agree with her but t ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Choosing to be a meat eater while looking for happy meat is something we started doing almost 2 years ago, partially due to The Omnivore's Dilemna, Fast Food Nation and Nourishing Traditions. While lack of employment makes that not possible at the moment, it is something that will be renewed as soon as we have stable income again.

This book is an excellent addition to the modern muckrackers of our food supply. She brings an interesting perspective as a small sheep farmer originally from the city
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it

Catherine Friend writes with a humble, humorous sincerity that is hard not to love. Despite deep ideological differences between myself and the author, her recognition of the complexities of the issue and her sensible presentation of a wide variety of important considerations (health, stewardship, empathy, social interactions) engendered many productive discussions between my wife and I not just about whether or which meat to eat, but more broadly about why we make the food choices we do. A ple
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Judy by: Kristina
This book is written by a lesbian sheep farmer who helps her partner in running a small, sustainable farm. Their goal is raising "happy meat." I learned a lot, and I feel I understand much more about the subject than I did before. That said...I think the core of this book could be distilled down to an article, there is so much repetition. As much as I agree with her goals, she presents a rather biased view. Since I mostly agree with her, it didn't bother me much - but she uses footnotes, quotes, ...more
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Catherine Friend had what she calls a "boring" childhood, but she says that boring was just fine -- because it gave her more time to read. She read so much her parents had to set a "no-reading-at-the dinner-table" rule. She was slightly shy as a child, but enjoyed playing Beauty Parlor with her sister, taking family trips, and watching STAR TREK and TIME TUNNEL.

She studied Economics, but because

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