“The Face on Your Plate”

Denial, argues psychoanalyst Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson in The Face on Your Plate, is the only possible reason we still eat meat or animal-derived products. The environmental impact and carbon footprint of farming, along with the risks of water contamination, are some of the timely and popular arguments put forward in favour of veganism.

Masson exalts the purported health benefits of a vegan diet and claims that he has never been fitter or thinner. He also appeals to our moral compass, asking us to consider the happiness of animals, before going into graphic detail about the conditions in which they are kept and killed.

The Face on Your Plate is persuasive, but the evangelical tone and highly prescriptive advice left me cold rather than converted. There is something objectionable about comparing farming methods to slavery, the Holocaust or genocides in Darfur or Rwanda.

The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
WW Norton, 2009

— By Emmanuelle Smith


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009