Recently I finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, a book that’s part food memoir, part investigative journalism and part interview, all focusing on the problematic consumption of animals, particularly in the United States.
As someone who has read other accounts of factory farming and the inhumane treatment of animals in these type of “farms,” Eating Animals did cover some familiar ground I had previously encountered in books such as Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. However there were a lot of things I did not know regarding some issues such as how chicken meat is processed in the United States, and Foer’s writing presents the argument on eating meat in a new, personable light that directly deals with some issues that I’ve been contemplating as someone who has been vegetarian for seventeen years now.
Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food were particularly discussed frequently by Foer, who questions some of the more carnivorous/omnivorous statements made by Pollan. Jonathan Safran Foer’s own opinions were well-researched and insightful, as well as compassionate–not only for the animals, but also to humankind’s own faults and flaws. It isn’t a book that insists upon the reader to stop eating meat, but rather presents an argument filled with paradoxes, well-researched facts and a number of emotional and personal accounts relating to the consumption of meat from his own life as well as from the mouths of farmers, ranchers, workers at slaughterhouses and animal rescuers.
It’s a very good book and I recommend reading it, regardless of your diet. I found it engrossing and sort of affirming regarding my choice to become a vegetarian, although people who eat meat and don’t wish to stop should read Eating Animals. It may surprise you. You can read a sample from the book on the Eating Animals website.