By Jenn Sanders
GROSSMONT COLLEGE — No Happy Cows: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Food Revolution is a compilation of articles and other pieces from books that John Robbins has written. Robbins was the only heir to the Baskin-Robbins fortune. He gave all of that up to become an advocate for the humane treatment of farm animals, and plant-based diets. The book is broken down into four parts, which I think makes it a fairly easy read. For this review I have chosen three topics, from parts one, two, and three which I found to be the most riveting.
Part One: Caring for All Creatures. This section discusses how animals are treated in the factory farms. The two animals he went into great detail about are cows and hens. Both animals are treated worse than inhumanely. I don’t understand how any human can allow animals to be locked in cages where they can barely move. They are fed hormones to make them grow faster so they produce more of what people demand in high quantities. Due to the inhumane conditions these creatures live in sickness. To solve that problem the “farmers” feed the animals antibiotics. The problem with feeding animals hormones and antibiotics is that all of that is processed into their bodies, and in turn into the bodies of those that eat them which causes health problems in humans.
Part Two: What Are We Putting Into Our Bodies? Overall this section goes into depth about the foods that people eat blindly without knowing what is truly being done to it before it goes into their mouths. In chapter six Robbins discusses how obesity and the food choices we make affect our bodies. “The CDC tells us that obese people have a substantially higher risk not only for heart attacks, but also for diabetes, most cancers, and many other types of cardiovascular disease.” (P.69)
Part Three: Industrial Food Production- and Other Dirty Dealings. In this section Robbins lets us in on the lies that companies tell to sell their products, and how they try to cover their own behinds when they are caught in the act of inhumanity for the sake of profit. Chapter 13 discusses one of my favorite foods, Chocolate. What could be wrong with chocolate? According to Robbins, the Ivory Coast in West Africa, which produces 43% of the world’s chocolate supply, uses child slave labor.
Many companies are aware of this and a good number of them have changed from farms that use child slave labor to farms that do not use children, while the biggest chocolate company of all, Hershey’s, refuses to do so. Time and again Hershey’s has made promises to prevent such things from happening and each time their word has been nothing more than a lie, according to Robbins.
After reading this book my entire perception of the food industry has changed. I recommend that anyone who wants to know more about the way our food comes to us, and how it does so, should read John Robbins book No Happy Cows Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Food Revolution.
Sanders is commentary editor of GC Summit. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org