Eating Animals is...
a revelation, in my opinion.
Not the actual act of eating animals, of course (that would be a crazy way to start a post on a vegan blog!).
Eating Animals, the new book by Jonathan Safran Foer, is a thoughtful examination about why we eat the flesh and byproducts of animals, why we continue to justify doing it, and why we need to start telling and living a different story. A project that began as a search for the best way to feed his newborn son, Foer spent three years probing the meat industry from every angle to learn how our animals are raised and made into food for the masses. As the reader, we are taken on a very emotional ride with Foer as he discusses the importance of long-standing food traditions in his family - traditions that have been forever changed by his new knowledge about how 99% of all farm animals are raised, which is in factories. My heart remained with Foer as he faced the difficult dilemma of trying to to eat in a way that is morally just, despite being socially unacceptable more often than not. In the book, he writes:
" Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand... that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory - disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own."
Foer poses questions and thoughts I have been wondering myself many times, and I was so happy to see someone else share my feelings about the cruel, inhumane, and destructive methods of our current factory farm industry. Foer desperately wants and pleads for a better way to treat animals and live in peace with them - and until that way becomes the norm, Foer has chosen a vegetarian diet for his family. Don't get me wrong - there were parts of the book where I was completely frustrated - for example, reading about an independent rancher defending the act of killing an animal for food and profit was very difficult to take in. But Foer handles the role of devil's advocate seamlessly - by showing two different sides to a very tricky coin, Foer is more than able to make his point: that the methods behind factory farming - which is how nearly all animals raised for food are raised - are horrific, damaging to the earth, and need to stop. For a novelist to come to this conclusion, rather than an environmentalist, activist, or fellow vegan, is the reason why I love Eating Animals. It is proof that the ways of the world are changing - that people from all walks of life are beginning to be brave enough to look behind the veiled curtain of the factory farming industry to see it for what it is: 100% cruelty. I am so happy to have picked up a copy of this book, and I highly suggest you do too. Whether you are vegan or not, Eating Animals is a universal story of a person's quest to live an honest, healthy, and just life for their family.
" Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivation, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience to say not now, then when?"