Reviews

The Ultimate Betrayal is a well-rounded and thoroughly-researched book that touches the heart with an honest and unflinching look at the reality behind “humane” labels and processes. With real-life examples from multiple viewpoints and thought-provoking philosophical underpinnings, The Ultimate Betrayal is a must-read for anyone interested in ethical food choices.”

– Dawn Moncrief, founder of A Well-Fed World

The Ultimate Betrayal provides us with a much needed critical look into the so-called ‘sustainable’ and ‘humane’ alternatives to the industrial production of animal products. Combining comprehensive research and engaging prose, this book reminds ‘conscientious carnivores’ that eating animals comes with a realm of unresolved ethical implications. Enlightening us to these implications pushes the world ever closer to a plant-based diet. It’s a superb accomplishment.”

– James McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly

The Ultimate Betrayal is a timely, thorough, and essential book that exposes the dark side of the ‘happy meat’ movement. With both passion and precision, this book documents the egregious cruelty meted out to cows on organic dairies, hens in free-range egg operations, and pigs on small-scale family farms, and sheds much-needed light on both the actual practices as well as the inherent ethical conflicts involved. This is a must-read book for all of us wishing to understand our culture, our health, and the inescapable repercussions of our mistreatment of animals.”

– Dr. Will Tuttle, author of the best-selling The World Peace Diet and recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award.

The Ultimate Betrayal is a powerful and insightful text that should be required reading for anyone concerned with animals, humans, or the environment. Despite its growing popularity, ‘humane slaughter’ of animals is an impossibility and this text helps to bring this reality to light. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”

– Vasile Stanescu, Co-Senior Editor Critical Animal Studies Book Series, Stanford University
Associate Editor Journal for Critical Animals Studies
Instructor, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University

The Ultimate Betrayal is sure to be an eye-opener for consumers whose concern for animals leads them to purchase organic or locally-raised meat, cage-free eggs and similar products. This book is a fascinating and in-depth look at what such labels really mean, and whether a kinder choice is possible. Consumers deserve to know the truth.”

– Nick Cooney, author of Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change

“Today we are witnessing a significant disconnect between what we choose to eat and the impact those choices have on other living beings, our planet, and ourselves. The Ultimate Betrayal provides a compelling view of the magnitude of this disconnect, while inspiring the awareness necessary to effect positive change. I consider it a must read for anyone who cares about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.”

– Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of award winning Comfortably Unaware

“A comprehensive and critical study of small-scale animal agriculture that leaves the reader yearning for a truly compassionate way of eating: one that leaves animals off our plates entirely.”

– Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, bestselling author and creator of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Ultimate Betrayal makes an airtight argument in favor of the individual worth of every animal, irrelevant to their supposed economic value to humans. If there was ever a time to combat the myth of humane animal products, that time is now.”

– Michael A. Webermann, Executive Director, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM)

“The unspeakable cruelty that farmed animals endure is passionately voiced in The Ultimate Betrayal, inspiring us to make more compassionate choices for ourselves, our families, the planet and the animals. This book shines a spotlight on the false impression of ‘humane animal products’ that was once hiding in the shadows. A must read for anyone who cares about animals.”

– Cindy Machado, Director of Animal Services, Marin Humane Society

The Ultimate Betrayal greatly increases awareness that a major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential if we are to have a chance to avert a climate catastrophe; severe food, water, and energy scarcities; and other environmental disasters. Especially valuable is the exposing of the myths about the alleged value of alternate means of raising farm animals to reduce animal suffering, improve human health, reduce climate change, and other negative environmental impacts. I sincerely hope that this extremely well-researched, well-documented, and well-written book will be widely read and heeded as an important step in shifting our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.”

– Richard H. Schwartz, author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, Mathematics and Global Survival, and Who Stole My Religion
President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
President, Society Of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV)

The Ultimate Betrayal thoroughly addresses the oxymoron of ‘humane meat.’ This book eloquently makes the case that regardless if the pig is raised in a crate or outside, her life still ends inside a slaughterhouse at 6 months of age. If you are purchasing ‘free range eggs’ or ‘humane meat,’ this book is a must read!”

– Kim Sturla, Executive Director, Animal Place

“If you assume that as long as animals are treated humanely, it is all right to kill them, The Ultimate Betrayal will lead you to question this assumption, and to interrogate more deeply what ‘humane’ really means.”

– Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, and some also say that you can’t have your meat and be ethical too, even if the meat came from animals that were “happy” when alive. Vegetarians detest the idea of consuming the flesh of fellow creatures but others can’t seem to give up meat, either because they so like the taste of it or because they still believe it’s good for them. Unfortunately there is an army of doctors, celebrity chefs, cookery sites and100-mile-diet promoters cheering them on. Still, in the face of information about the environmental disaster of industrial agriculture, the cruelty it involves, and the cancers and heart disease resulting from consumption of animal fats and muscle, some meat-eaters do make moves in the ethical direction in that they are willing to reduce their consumption or seek out meat raised outside the factory farm.

Baby steps are better than no steps and social justice movements always succeed in stages (anti-slavery, women’s rights, and so on), and it is a good thing if people are eating more thoughtfully and inching toward humane farming. The danger though is that food security enthusiasts see a marketing opportunity here, promoting “caring, organic, sustainable, humane” agriculture without defining those terms with precision — and that we may become stalled at this halfway house to health and morality.

In The Ultimate Betrayal Hope Bohanec points out that we cannot be sure the hens, cows and pigs on organic free-range farms are treated humanely. We are not there, watching. No one is, except those taking profits. How wide is the “range”? How prompt is medical attention when needed? How clean is bedding? How much protection is there from weather? How qualified are farm workers? What slaughter methods are used? One little label may be all that we know in answer to these questions.

The inescapable fact at the heart of the matter is that farm animals are sentient beings who feel emotion, yet in any farm economy they are treated as units of property. How can someone regard them as friends and companions for a time, caring about their comfort and pleasure, and then turn around and take their lives? A betrayal indeed. Bohanec examines the details of language, attitudes and farming practice, to expose how blurry we have allowed our critique of farming to be, in our quest to be more responsible without changing too much.

On a global scale things don’t look good for agricultural animals, since the “growing middle class” of China and India are turning to meat-eating on a scale never before seen, but in Europe and North America some consumers have got to the point of demanding “humane” and “cage-free” alternatives. This is a stage on a long road and Bohanec shines a light of inquiry on the details confronting us at this place, while reminding us that ultimately “humane” means eating plants.

– Barbara Julian, Animal Literature
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