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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
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Eating Animals (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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2,7901213,060 (4.05)56
Member:bren
Title:Eating Animals
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2009), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:sustainability, food

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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (2009)

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English (104)  Dutch (7)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (121)
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Best for: Anyone looking for both a philosophical and a reality-based discussion about the decision to consume meat.

In a nutshell: When he realizes he is going to be a father, Mr. Foer decides to examine the food he eats and the morality of it.

Worth quoting:
I underlined and starred so many lines that I could put here, but I think this one sums the entire question up for

“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.”

Why I chose it:
I’ve been vegetarian (and even vegan) at a few points in my life. I pretty much never cook meat at home. Lately I’ve been wondering if I can justify my decision to even intermittently eat meat, so when I saw this book at Shakespeare and Co in Paris, I decided it was time to jump in again.

Review:
What does it mean to choose to consume meat in the US (or UK) these days? What has it meant for the last 50 years? Realistically, unless you are raising your own meat or purchasing it from one of an infinitesimally small number of family farmers, your meat is coming from a factory farm. And even if you do purchase it from a ‘humane’ farmer, that animal is still being killed in an unimaginably cruel slaughterhouse. We know this, and yet we (unless the person reading this is vegetarian or vegan) still consume meat. And eggs. And dairy.

Why? This book explores the reasons we give, in beautifully written prose. Seriously, I’ve read many a book in my day about vegetarianism and veganism, but none have affected me in this way. They all have some variation on the same statistics, the same horror stories. The same glimpses into slaughterhouses, the same reminder that the workers in these facilities are often paid poorly and treated horribly. They tell us how pigs are much more like dogs than we’d probably feel comfortable knowing as we bite into our BLTs. How fish are much more intelligent than we’d probably imagined, and how both farmed and wild-caught seafood are just utterly horrible for the environment. How ALL of this factory farming — on land and sea — is destroy our world.

The book doesn’t provide an easy out, and I love that. Mr. Foer opens and closes his book with anecdotes about family meals. He describes the best (and only) meal his grandmother — a holocaust survivor — makes: chicken with carrots. He recognizes, and explores deeply, how food matters to us all culturally. How so many of our memories involve meals. And he asks if that is enough to justify consuming meat? What about if we are 100% certain that the meat was raised humanely (which is nearly impossibly to do)?

I’ve gone back and forth on this. I’ve read many an article about how pushing a vegetarian — or vegan — life on everyone can be culturally and economically insensitive. When vegetarians and vegans point out how poorly factory farm (e.g. all farm) animals are treated, they’re often responded to with the fact that people who pick our fruits and vegetables are treated poorly, so why don’t we care about them. Which is a completely insincere comment, given the shit labor standards that cover slaughterhouse workers.

Here’s where I’ve landed, once again, and after reading this book: I cannot justify consuming meat. Me. A woman with no medical issues, who has access to sufficient money and time to prepare an all-vegetarian diet. I do care about the welfare of animals. And I do care about their rights. I care about the environment. I care about public health (side note: Mr. Foer’s section on antibiotics and flu pandemics is one area that other similar books don’t cover nearly enough). And by choosing to not eat meat, I can be closer to living my values. I just had become complacent, and this book helped push me back on the right path.

As I write this review, my cat Tigger keeps jumping in my lap. My partner and I adopted him and his brother Jameson 6 1/2 years ago. They’re our buddies, our friends. We love them dearly, and even brought them with us when we moved to London. I can’t imagine life without them, and I certainly can’t imagine eating them. So how can I justify eating their animal friends? And why do I keep trying to? Because burgers are tasty? Sure. But, as Mr. Foer asks, is that taste more important than the life of another animal? Of course, this raises the question of how to feed them humanely. Cats are obligate carnivores, so chances are that the meat I need to feed them was procured in an inhumane fashion. I don’t know how to square that circle, but I’m going to try. ( )
  ASKelmore | Aug 21, 2018 |
You have to read this book. ( )
  simonspacecadet | Jul 29, 2018 |
A very thought provoking book that pushed me to the other side of the fense - Thanks to Tiffany for suggesting the title to me! ( )
  jnetnoe | May 8, 2018 |
A complete eye opener. This book affected me much more than Food, Inc. I loved that JSF touched upon all topics concerning the meat/dairy industry including health, ethics and environmental concerns. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the meat/dairy industry. ( )
  JamieBH | Apr 3, 2018 |
Im Gegensatz zum anderen Buch "Anständig Essen" von Karen Duve ist dieses Buch gewalttätiger und schonungsloser. Eben wegen dieser Schonungslosigkeit würde ich es nicht uneingeschränkt weiter empfehlen, es macht jedoch die Fakten nicht weniger wahr.
Falls ich je in meinem Leben wieder Appetit auf Fleisch haben werde, kann ich mir dieses Buch wieder zu Herzen führen - denn wer dieses Buch liest und danach wieder Fleisch aus Massentierhaltung isst, hat entweder zuwenig Verstand oder mangelnde Empathie. ( )
  Geektesse | Dec 10, 2017 |
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Animal rights advocates occasionally pick fights with sustainable meat producers (such as Joel Salatin), as Jonathan Safran Foer does in his recent vegetarian polemic, Eating Animals.
 
"A straightforward case for vegetarianism is worth writing," writes Foer, "but it's not what I've written here." Yet he has, though the implications of what eating animals really entails will be hard for most readers to swallow.
 
An earnest if clumsy chronicle of the author’s own evolving thinking about animals and vegetarianism, this uneven volume meanders all over the place, mixing reportage and research with stream-of-consciousness musings and asides.
 
"Eating Animals” is a postmodern version of Peter Singer’s 1975 manifesto “Animal Liberation,” dressed up with narrative bells and whistles befitting the author of “Everything Is Illuminated” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
 
What makes Eating Animals so unusual is vegetarian Foer's empathy for human meat eaters, his willingness to let both factory farmers and food reform activists speak for themselves, and his talent for using humor to sweeten a sour argument.
 
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for Sam and Eleanor, trusty compasses
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When I was young, I would often spend the weekend at my grandmother's house.
Quotations
"... A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me." "He saved your life." "I didn't eat it." "You didn't eat it?" "It was pork. I wouldn't eat pork." "Why?" "What do you mean why?" "What, because it wasn't kosher?" "Of course." "But not even to save your life?" "If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."[pp. 16-17]
The entire, complex saga of Agriprocessors ... by the Orthodox blog FailedMesiah.com [p. 287 as a note for p. 69]
See FarmForward.com for details on how to find non-factory-farmed animal products. [p. 310 as a note for p. 172]
Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, "Rubashkin's response to the 'attack on Schechita,"" shmais.com, December 7, 2004, http://www.shmais.com/jnewdetail.cfm?... (accessed November 28, 2007). [p. 325 as a note for p. 230]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316069906, Hardcover)


Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told-and the stories we now need to tell.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From the Publisher: Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told-and the stories we now need to tell.… (more)

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