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Compassion, by the Pound: The Economics of Farm Animal Welfare
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Compassion, by the Pound: The Economics of Farm Animal Welfare

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  6 reviews
For much of human history, most of the population lived and worked on farms but today, information about livestock is more likely to come from children's books than hands-on experience. When romanticized notions of an agrarian lifestyle meet with the realities of the modern industrial farm, the result is often a plea for a return to antiquated production methods. The resul ...more
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published June 9th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published April 28th 2011)
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Matt
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a strange book.
I used to be a vegetarian, but in 2015 started eating ethically raised meat. My thinking was that if the world became vegetarian (either through moral choice or maybe if it becomes cheap enough to grow artificial meat in vats), then most farm animals will cease to exist. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, neither do I think it's morally laudable; it's just kind of a gray area. So I came around to thinking that if an animal lives a life worth living, it's not wrong t
...more
Adom
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I was pretty unimpressed with this book. There was a lot of what came across as sloppy thinking, and overall the content was surprisingly basic for what looked to be a book by and for specialists. Much of the early chapters consisted of a catalogue of the relevant philosophical and economic questions of the sort that anyone interested in the topic could generate, with vague stabs at answers that were similarly weak.

In the end I skimmed some chapters that didn't look interesting to me.

I did appre
...more
Cullyn
Good, balanced look at the farmed animal welfare debate. I think anyone on any side of this issue can gain from reading this. While I disagree with some of the authors' assessments about overall happiness of farmed animals, I have no doubt they are better informed than me and are also sincere in their attempt to be objective. The book also implicitly shows the shortcomings of economic analysis of this issue.
Ike Sharpless
So I haven't read most of this yet, but I can already tell it's going to be frustrating. It does a good job of clearing up a lot of the misconceptions about 'factory farming' bred from an incompletely theorized world-view favoring primitivism against the new or the merely technological. And there's a lot of useful data on actual treatment of animals, and on consumers willingness to pay (WTP) for various material and nonmaterial goods. But at root this ag econ view is just too uninterested in tak ...more
Louis Bouchard
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This book covers two topics
Modern techniques of animal farming
The moral philosophy of animal welfare

The techniques part is quite good. It explains the methods, the reason for the method, the effects on the animals, and the economics of it.

The moral philosophy part isn't bad, but it's long winded and doesn't make much of a stand one way or the other.

The book's very informative, but not a particularly pleasant read.
Trey Malone
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I were to teach a book on farm animal welfare, this would be the on the required reading list. Granted, thinking like an economist can offend some, but this book makes a compelling case for thinking about tradeoffs in the context of farm animals.
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