Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer


Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316069884
ISBN-13: 978-0316069885
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I love meat. There’s nothing like a bacon and tomato sandwich, or a juicy cheeseburger. I grew up eating meat. Add Potatoes to the mix, and you’d have the staple product of my diet. Vegetarianism always seemed liked a whacked out idea to me. Eating only vegetables, who could do that. And Vegans, forget about it. No Milk, No Cheese, no Diary Products? What No Ice Cream, surely you jest.

I originally started reading this book under the assumption that it was a man’s journey to discover why we eat the things we do as a culture, and not like other cultures. And in fact, that’s how it started out, wondering why we eat cows, pigs, and chickens, but not cats and dogs.

But then the book became disturbing. Disturbing because it made me confront things that I’d never fully considered. Things such as the amount of fecal waste that gets pumped into the air, water supply, etc. from animal factory farms. Things such as how the animals are tortured in these factory farms. Torture including broken bones, being boiled alive, sexually assaulted, skinned while alive, etc.

The author breaks the book up into four primary areas chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows. He goes behind the scenes to farms that are trying to go back to the old ways of Animal Husbandry vs. the new growth science. He talks to people who’ve worked at the factory farms. Some of the things in the book, both in the treatment of the animals, and also some of the stuff that actually goes into our food, will turn the reader’s stomache.

All this is done so that we can have cheap eggs and meat. I didn’t know prior to reading this book that modern turkeys (unless they are special breeds) can no longer reproduce through modern means. Chickens are manipulated so that they lay way more eggs than normal.

This book made me re-think my stance on things. I don’t think I can go cold-turkey on eating meat,, but I know I definitely want to try cutting down on the amount of meat I consume, and will be more careful about the companies I purchase from. Smithfield Farms and Perdue were listed as two of the worst.

If you are into animal welfare, or are vegetarian, or want an eye opening view of what goes on in factory farms, then pick up this book. I don’t think you’ll regret it. Beware though, there is a lot of strong language, and descriptions that are not for the young or faint of heart. I don’t think you could read this book with it having some effect on you.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Groups for a review copy of this book.

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