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Jim Mason is an author and attorney who focuses on human/animal concerns. His latest book, co-authored with ethicist Peter Singer, is The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (Rodale Press, 2006). The authors trace the foods eaten by three American families back to their sources and explore the ethical questions that arise along the way. The book discusses factory farming and alternatives, fair trade, buying local, organic farming, commercial fishing, and other food matters of concern to consumers today.
His book, An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature (Lantern Books, 2005), looks at the historical and cultural roots of the Western belief in God-given dominion over the living world. In enslaving animals for war and farming, he says, agrarian society broke the ancient bonds and sense of kinship with them. This makes for an alienated, nature-hating culture, Mason argues. It fouls our relations with nature — especially animals, whom we need, he says, “as companions, as exercisers of human empathy and nurturing, as feeders and informers of the psyche, and as kin and continuum with the rest of the living world.”