Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just in time for Thanksgiving...

At the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. recently, Jonathan Safran Foer stated that he did not write this book as a case for vegetarianism or to pronounce eating animals immoral, but he certainly does make a good case for both in the pages of his latest book.

Eating Animals is well-written, fact-filled, and fascinating. Foer tries to present our culture of eating meat from many angles, but does conclude that virtually all of the meat and eggs we consume are the product of factory farms, which are horrible for our environment in many ways and cruel to animals. Eating animals bred and slaughtered in the factory farm system is also detrimental to human health. For instance, chicken and turkey are routinely given antibiotics, and this has become a contributing factor in the evolution of resistant pathogens. This has been a concern since the early 1960's, but it was a new factoid to me.

The facts in Foer's book are downright scary and appalling. I have already read Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, which was eye-opening, but had a different focus. Schlosser detailed the plight of the humans who work in the meatpacking facilities and went after corporations that put profit above human welfare. Eating Animals focuses more on animal welfare and the global environment, which in turn affects the lives of all people and animals.

Foer successfully made me angry about what the farm factories have done and also shocked me with statistics of how animals are treated. I was also surprised to learn that there are vegans and vegetarians who are working to help the few small animal husbandry farms compete with the factory farms. That is, there are plenty of people who have made the personal decision not to eat animal products but who are working to change the way people eat for the sake of health, environment, and animal welfare.

I would say, read this, and then pass it on. We should all at least pause to think about what our country's corporations are doing to us and the rest of the world.


TLP said...

I'm tempted to read it, but, um, you know, I like meat. *sigh*

What if I donate my body to a zoo to be fed to the lions after I die. (That part about my dying first is important, okay?) Would that help even things up and all?

Doug said...

Great solution, TLP. For what it's worth, I prefer wild game and critters I raised myself. Relax, Willie, I mean hooved critters. What, Walela?

actonbell said...

Mom, ew. That part about being dead is important first, and doesn't always always happen first for some poor animals...just sayin'

Doug, that would be the best solution:) Oh, and Foer does address the curious fact that it's somehow taboo to eat dog in some cultures but not others.

actonbell said...
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JAllgood said...

This book sounds similar to a movie I recently watched- FOOD,INC; which draws from the Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma. It rather shocked and scared me at what I didn't know about our "food culture". I've been trying to do a little part by now purchasing organic, but I've even have doubts about what can be classified as organic. It can be rather over whelming as a consumer as to what to do. --J