A must read: On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans »

The truth about its production and the ethics of eating it

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<i>On Eating Meat</i> by Matthew Evans

On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans [©Murdoch Books]


"It’s, um, a bit hard on the nose," I say, trying to be polite. "Smells like money," says the feedlot owner. The chicken farmer. The pig farm manager. The saying "Smells like money"* is the difference between the owners of these farms and me. I smell toxins. They smell profit.

Australia is a nation of carnivores. On average, Australians consume 111.4 kilograms of meat per person each year, yet the global average is just 34.1 kilograms, and we regularly trade places with the USA to become the world’s biggest meat-eating nation. We know that eating meat has an obvious impact on animals, and our health and (Ed: allegedly) the planet, so is veganism the only ethical answer?

In On Eating Meat, Matthew Evans, aka The Gourmet Farmer, presents a scorching manifesto on the ethics of eating meat, and asks the kind of questions that will make vegans, vegetarians and carnivores stop in their tracks.

How can 160,000 deaths in one day constitute a 'medium sized operation’? Think beef is killing the world? What about asparagus farms? Or golf? Eat dairy? You'd better eat veal, too.

Evans writes: "Genuinely informed conversation about what constitutes a ‘moral’ carnivore remains elusive. Partly, this is because the debate has been seconded by those who want us to implicitly trust what happens behind those locked farm gates, as well as by those who want us to eat no meat at all."

Going vegan might be all the rage, but the fact is the world has an ever growing, insatiable appetite for meat  especially cheap meat. Evans grapples with the thorny issues around the ways we produce and consume animals. From feedlots and abattoirs, to organic farms and animal welfare agencies, he has an intimate, expert understanding of the farming practices that take place in our name.

Ultimately Evans is calling for less radicalisation, greater understanding and transparency, and for ethical omnivores to stand up for the welfare of animals and farmers alike.

Sure to spark intense debate, On Eating Meat is an urgent read for anyone who has thought about the food they eat and where it comes from.

Early endorsements

Compelling, illuminating and often confronting, On Eating Meat is a brilliant blend of a gastronome's passion with forensic research into the sources of the meat we eat. Matthew Evans brings his unflinching honesty − and a farmer's hands-on experience − to the question of how to be an ethical carnivore.’ Hugh Mackay

'Intellectually thrilling  a book that challenges both vegans and carnivores in the battle for a new ethics of eating. This book will leave you surprised, engrossed and sometimes shocked − whatever your food choices.' Richard Glover

‘This is the most important food book I’ve read in years. Not just for meat lovers or vegans, it should be read by anyone who eats food. When I finished this book I felt informed, connected and empowered to make better decisions about how I shop, cook and eat.’ Alex Elliott-Howery, Cornersmith

About the author

Matthew Evans is a former chef and food critic, now a Tasmanian smallholder, restaurateur and food activist.

He raises pigs, milks cows, tends a garden, runs a farm restaurant and teaches from Fat Pig Farm, in the picturesque Huon Valley.

Matthew is the star of the long-running SBS TV show The Gourmet Farmer as well as food documentaries What's the Catch? and For the Love of Meat.

He is the author of twelve books including the authoritative and internationally bestselling Real Food Companion and The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book, as well as his autobiography Never Order Chicken on a Monday followed by The Dirty Chef.


On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, NSW, Jul 2019; Pb 312 pp; RRP A$32.99). It is available to purchase directly from the publisher and at good bookstores nationally.

It can also be purchased online via booko.com »

* Ed: I've never heard any farmer say this, ever. (And I'm a farmer too, and work with many). However, Evans may well have.

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July 30th, 2019
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