I read this book last year and just reviewed it last week.
This is a book intended for an academic audience but it is not difficult to read. It deals a lot in philosophy and specific Jewish questions of meat and slaughter which particularly intrigued me.
The springboard issue is a famous 2004 incident when an animal-rights group secretly videotaped the activities in a Jewish kosher slaughterhouse. Many serious abuses were shown. The New York Times ran articles about it, and there was an uproar, as you might expect. Because orthodox Jews try especially hard to keep the Old Testament dietary laws, the animals must be kindly treated, killed quickly, and drained of blood. The secret videos showed abuse and probably violated the claims of kosher licensure. The USDA inspectors were playing videogames and napping rather than observing (and not punished).
The author analyses public and Jewish reaction to the incident. Surprisingly, the general public seemed more worried about it than the Jewish community. Many Jewish leaders shrugged and didn’t seem to care, or made silly excuses as to why it didn’t matter.
The author studies some famous Jewish writings to discuss how and why people distance themselves from cruelty to animals, and etc.
I found the book helpful but it would not be entertaining for any casual reader. Useful for understanding some elements of kosher slaughter. A good glossary of terms in the back.