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Cover for The Compassionate Carnivore

The Compassionate Carnivore

Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat

Catherine Friend


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/22/2008)


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 the world of livestock and farming is a journey that offers critical insights--for omnivores and herbivores alike--into how our meat is raised, how we buy it and from whom, and why change is desirable and possible.

From a distressing lesson about her favorite Minnesota State Fair food (pork-chop-on-a-stick) to the surprising gratitude that came from eating an animal she'd raised and loved, Friend takes us on a wild and woolly ride through her small farm (with several brief detours into life on factory farms), along the way raising questions such as: What are the differences between factory, conventional, sustainable, and organic farms, and more importantly, why do we need to understand those differences? What do all those labels -- from organic to local to grass fed and pasture raised -- really mean? If you're buying from a small farmer, what are the key questions to ask? How do you find that small farmer, and what's the best way to help her help you?

In the same witty and warm style that characterized her memoir Hit by a Farm,Friend uses her perspective as a sustainable farmer and carnivore to consider meat animals' quality of life--while still supporting the choice to eat meat. Regardless of whether you eat meat once a day, once a week, or once a year, your perspective of what goes on your plate--and in your mouth--will never be the same.

Praise For The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat, July 2009
“Friend presents a compelling case that there's plenty wrong with the way Americans eat meat. The Compassionate Carnivore is chock full of facts and well cited, drawing from a variety of sources. I applaud Friend's approach of finding balance between the extremes of mindless consumption and hyperawareness.”

Gastronomica magazine, summer issue
“Friend’s passion for farming and the fact that she continues to wrestle with her own recommendations add up to a readable, informative tale.”  

Da Capo Lifelong Books, 9780738213095, 304pp.

Publication Date: April 28, 2009

About the Author

Catherine Friend is the author of Hit by a Farm and The Compassionate Carnivore, as well as several children's books and novels. She farms in Minnesota with her partner of twenty-eight years.