Eating Animals

img_5724Book: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Date Read: June 23, 2016 to July 12, 2016

Rating: 4 (of 5) stars

Before the prime of Amazon prime, back when the only way to get free shipping was to bump your order total over $25, I often found myself browsing Amazon’s book recommendations. It wasn’t so much that I could not have come up with another book to purchase on my own, but it was obviously much more fun to buy a surprise book. One that I wasn’t going to seek out during my next trip to the bookstore. That is where I found this book. It was recommended to me based on my previous purchases, and what little (or perhaps not so little) Amazon knew of my reading habits. I had read a book by the same author before. I’m pretty sure that was the main reason for the suggestion, and I’m going to say really not the best reasoning on their part.

I suppose at this point I should admit my bias: I am a vegetarian. I was before reading this book. I am not vegan, and while reading this has lead me to think more about my choices, I would not say that it has really pushed me strongly in that direction. I would consider this book to be more of an informative piece on factory farming than a straightforward case for giving up meat. Foer presents facts, from various viewpoints, and suggests that readers use this information to make decisions for themselves. He does not preach to the reader, nor does he vilify meat eaters. I appreciate this perspective– one of the hardest things I have found about being vegetarian is the way that others react to me based on their assumption of how I feel about them eating meat. Don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you, thanks.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that the food industry in our country is in an appalling state. Many of the common practices in the large scale farming of animals are not only cruel, but also terrible for the environment and more often than not, rather disgusting. I don’t think any of that would surprise most people. I suppose this is the classic case of what people “don’t want to know” about their food. However, Foer does make efforts to show the other side of this: there are people out there who are trying to make things better, who respect the animals that they raise for food, and attempt to do right by them. It is possible to be a responsible meat eater; it’s just not easy.

As a final thought, I think Foer states it well himself:

“Whether we’re talking about fish species, pigs, or some other eaten animal, is such suffering the most important thing in the world? Obviously not. But that’s not the question. Is it more important than sushi, bacon, or chicken nuggets? That’s the question.”

Boris’s thoughts: “Concerning title, but did not convince human to eat me. 4 paws.”

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