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Eating Plants

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James McWilliams is "a historian and writer who's books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong, How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer."

  • The Life and Death of Insects
    At the risk of being a total bore, I have a few more thoughts to shake out on the proposition that vegans are morally obligated to eat insects. Some readers have suggested that insects might very well be sentient. The underlying fear, a legitimate (if unlikely) one, is that if we’re wrong in our assumption [...] (...more)
    23 Oct 2014 at 6:55pm       

  • The Modern Savage (reviews)
    What follows are some blurbs that have come in for The Modern Savage. I’m deeply grateful for them and hope you will pass them on to people you think would benefit from reading my forthcoming book. Once again, preorders are very helpful. You can do that here. “I think James McWilliams is far and away the [...] (...more)
    20 Oct 2014 at 11:22am       

  • Insects As Food: Hard Fact Versus Possible Fact
    Unlike the farm animals that we slaughter by the millions, there’s no hard evidence that insects experience suffering. The most convincing scientific defenses of that possibility all concede this point. Of course, there’s also no hard evidence that insects don’t suffer. I appreciate the argument that we should, in light of this ambiguity, (...more)
    18 Oct 2014 at 3:35pm       

  • Are Vegans Obligated To Eat Insects?
      My last post created quite a buzz among ethical vegans who categorically declare that it’s wrong to harm all animals unnecessarily—insects included. Trust me when I say that I understand how raising doubts about insect sentience makes vegans uncomfortable. Angry, even. Any line drawn through the animal world bearing on the extent (...more)
    14 Oct 2014 at 8:25am       

  • Starting Over
    The more I learn about contemporary agriculture of all forms the more I'm convinced that the decision to avoid eating animals is a limited response to the myriad problems of modern farming. I'm in no way suggesting that eating exclusively plants should be abandoned as a strategy of reform. But I am saying that, in [...] (...more)
    11 Oct 2014 at 11:39am       

  • Radical Nutrient Density
    There are innumerable ways to eat a healthy diet, but plant-based, when done right, is undeniably one of them. For me, a longtime marathoner, the litmus test of my nutrient intake and balance has always been the quality of my running. Since transitioning to a plant-based diet, the quality of my running has not only [...] (...more)
    7 Oct 2014 at 6:53am       

  • Complicating Compassion For Animals
    “Just be compassionate.” So goes the practically mantra-like phrase popular among those who advocate for animal justice. It seems to be an unassailable advice, a perfect lead rope to the land of reform. “Expand the circle of compassion”! It becomes complicated, though, when considered in light of another fundamental quality of social life: (...more)
    30 Sep 2014 at 3:19pm       

  • Basic Standards For Animal Journalism
     Loyal readers: I’m on the verge of launching The Daily Pitchfork, a website dedicated to promoting accuracy and context in the field of animal journalism. What follows are some tentative standards that we’re asking journalists to consider when they write about animals in the mainstream media. Please provide feedback, suggestions, and critiques. (...more)
    25 Sep 2014 at 8:30am       

  • Shooting Straight In Animal Advocacy
    I want to pick up an idea from my last post and make some critical distinctions. In the post I questioned the logic of fighting for animal welfare without explicitly opposing animal agriculture per se. When I put a variation of this concern to welfare-standards architect Andrew Gunther, he disingenuously responded that “death is not [...] (...more)
    24 Sep 2014 at 11:33am       

  • Three (Bad) Arguments For Killing Animals
      In the past week—in personal discussions and in the Twittersphere— I’ve heard three claims about killing animals that I’d like to address and, I hope, challenge. There’s nothing unusual in these objections—in fact they’re all pretty trite—but that’s all the better reason to deal with them (...more)
    23 Sep 2014 at 11:15am       

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