Saturday, 25 January 2020

Not as Nature Intended by Rich Hardy


Not as Nature Intended by Rich Hardy
Published in the UK by Unbound on the 23rd January 2020.

N for my 2020 Alphabet Soup Challenge and a Book With a Vegan

How I got this book:
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Relying on a hidden camera, a bluff and a little bit of luck, award-winning investigative journalist Rich Hardy finds imaginative ways to meet the people and industries responsible for the lives and deaths of the billions of animals used to feed, clothe and entertain us. What he discovers will shock, but it may just inspire you to re-evaluate your relationship with all animals and what role you let them play in your life.

Sometimes dangerous, often emotional and occasionally surreal, this one-of-a-kind perspective examines what it's like to live and work amongst your adversaries and what you can achieve if you feel strongly enough about something.

This review was first blogged on HirlGrend

Not As Nature Intended is a hard-hitting collection of ten essays by Rich Hardy, each recounting his undercover experiences to document factory farm animal cruelty across the globe. From chickens to quail, rabbits to reindeer, England to Australia, what each of the accounts has in common is Hardy's continued witnessing of a stunning lack of compassion towards the animals that farmers so often claim they 'really do care about. Honest!'

I frequently felt nauseated by the scenes Hardy describes. Dead animals or birds decomposing amongst the living, buckets full of empty antibiotic containers used to ward off epidemic diseases, animals left in obvious pain and distress with infected injuries, clouds of black flies everywhere. How can anyone remain convinced that this is how food should be produced? I was amazed too to discover that it's not just cheap pie fillings and pet foods that result from such unsanitary conditions. While I still ate meat, I had bought into the marketing inventions of free range meaning outdoor pastures and organic indicating animals fed food that was healthy for them. Hardy's peeping camera shows these concepts to be painfully untrue.

Not As Nature Intended felt like a different style of animal welfare book for me. Hardy is often obviously very upset by what he encounters, but this isn't an angry book. I never felt hectored or preached at, but at the same time this isn't by any stretch an cosy tale of the Old MacDonald's farm that so many consumers like to pretend is still the norm. I hope this collection is widely read and manages to find an audience beyond those of us who are already vegan because I believe it would be instrumental in making a lot more people really care about the provenance of their food.

Hardy's brave activism has already had results in chipping away at the secrecy of this massive industry, and his closing message has an uplifting tone. When people en masse become aware of individual acts of cruelty they generally will swiftly act to stop it. Not As Nature Intended opens the doors of cages, barns and slaughterhouses across the world. Now everyone needs to step up and look inside.


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8 comments:

  1. I'm too sensitive to read this kind of content I'm afraid!

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    1. Because of its personal witness impact, this one does make a powerful statement about the conditions in which farmed animals and circus animals are kept.

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  2. I would not read this. I've read other books in the past like this and I won't read another one.

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    1. These types of memoirs are difficult to read, but I think it's important to be aware of the issues raised especially as diseases like the coronavirus spread rapidly again

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  3. Maybe I need to read this. When I am not with an au pair family and matching their diet, or not at home where I don't cook for myself, I no longer cook or buy meat. I just eat vegetarian - the only exceptions being in situations where other people cook for me or if I eat out I might choose something with meat but equally I might not. I think reducing meat intake this way has been good for me but mostly it's because of the production situation being one I am no longer happy with. I haven't been able to make the jump to full vegetarianism... but maybe one day. I've been steadily taking the steps there anyway :P

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    1. Steady steps are great! It took me several years from first starting Meatfree Mondays to turning away from animal products all together. Every meal decision can make a difference

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  4. This is great! As a vegan, it is hard to find good books about vegan that paint it in a good light, and will be factual! Thank you.

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    1. Pleased to meet a fellow vegan!
      I've got a Reading Challenge to spot vegan & vegetarian characters in books and there's a link link here http://litflits.blogspot.com/p/reading-challenges.html
      (scroll down a bit). Most are fiction, but Lost Feast is another nonfiction book you might appreciate

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