Book review: The Vegetarian Myth. Food, justice and sustainability by Lierre Keith


Part provocative polemic, part self-obsessed memoir, The Vegetarian Myth is set to make US activist Lierre Keith the Christopher Hitchen’s of vegetarianism.
 
A vegan for 20 years who has now "assumed the responsibilities of adulthood" by eating meat, Keith argues a vegetarian diet "is not sufficient nutrition for long-term maintenance and repair of the human body".
 
However, her primary target is agriculture, which she describes as "the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet."
 
Much like Hitchens, Keith’s arguments are full of lazy thinking, willfully ignorant logic and glaring omissions. For example, she fails to mention the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s 2006 report that highlighted how meat raised for human consumption generates 18 percent of total human-induced global greenhouse gases.
 
Keith’s plea for local, sustainable economies is welcome, but I would be surprised if her condescendingly argued, anecdote-laden thesis does the case for a carnivorous diet any favours.
 
The Vegetarian Myth. Food, justice and sustainability is published by PM Press, priced £14.99.
 
*An edited version of this review recently appeared in the Morning Star.
 
Ian Sinclair is a freelance writer based in London, UK. ian_js@hotmail.com.

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