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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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3,3611333,157 (4.04)59
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.
Title:Eating Animals
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2009), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:sustainability, food

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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (2009)


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English (116)  Dutch (7)  German (3)  Finnish (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (132)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
I came into this extremely sympathetic to Foer's point of view, but found his arguments to be completely unconvincing and off-putting. I think I would have appreciated both more statistics and a deeper consideration of both ethics and environmentalism. Random anecdotes, often from biased sources, didn't convince or particularly interest me.

> dog eating has a proud pedigree. Fourth-century tombs contain depictions of dogs being slaughtered along with other food animals. It was a fundamental enough habit to have informed language itself: the Sino-Korean character for “fair and proper” (yeon) literally translates into “as cooked dog meat is delicious.” Hippocrates praised dog meat as a source of strength. The Romans ate “suckling puppy,” Dakota Indians enjoyed dog liver, and not so long ago Hawaiians ate dog brains and blood. The Mexican hairless dog was the principal food species of the Aztecs. Captain Cook ate dog. Roald Amundsen famously ate his sled dogs. (Granted, he was really hungry.) And dogs are still eaten to overcome bad luck in the Philippines; as medicine in China and Korea; to enhance libido in Nigeria; and in numerous places, on every continent, because they taste good. For centuries, the Chinese have raised special breeds of dogs, like the black-tongued chow, for chow, and many European countries still have laws on the books regarding postmortem examination of dogs intended for human consumption.

> The National Pork Producers Council, the policy arm of the American pork industry, reported in 1992 that acid-ridden, bleached, mushy flesh (so-called “pale soft exudative” or “PSE” pork) affected 10 percent of slaughtered pigs and cost the industry $69 million. When Iowa State University professor Lauren Christian announced in 1995 that he had discovered a “stress gene” that breeders could eliminate to reduce the incidence of PSE pork, the industry removed the gene from the genetic pool. Alas, problems with PSE pork continued to increase, and pigs remained so “stressed” that even driving a tractor too close to their confinement facility caused animals to drop dead. By 2002, the American Meat Science Association, a research organization set up by the industry itself, found that more than 15 percent of slaughtered pigs were yielding PSE flesh (or flesh that was at least pale or soft or exudative [watery], if not all three). ( )
  breic | Apr 9, 2022 |
I finished this book a few hours ago. When I started it, and while gushing through the first hundred or so pages of it, I constantly asked myself, "Would this book have the power to convert me to vegetarianism?"

At this point in time, I think it has. Everything about its research and information and the way Foer presented it and found meaning in it made me want to stop whoring my body to the American standard of the factory farm system and start building within myself a (as clichéd as it sounds) better person, one that knows, and acts on this knowledge. And really, it’s not that I didn’t have access to some of these horrifying, horrifying facts or that I’ve never seen videos of chickens being smashed into walls and, even worse, videos/images of their lives in perpetual gridlock of unnaturally humongous bodies with shit all around them, etc.; it’s that those little facts and things came across as propaganda when not delivered in this book form.

Even before reading this book, I never eat at KFC, ever, ever, ever. Never at McDonald’s. It started when I led my own investigation into PETA videos and witnessed the kinds of attacks on these corporations that really made me conscious of my ability to choose what to eat. I might’ve flirted with pescatarianism or whatever, but veg is just so difficult-sounding. Until reading this book, however, I haven't realized how truly pathetic I am for convincing myself that I'm kinda for animal "rights" (possibly one of the biggest lies I've ever perpetuated ever.)

At times it felt like Foer was on his way to conclusions that were so safe as to sound almost banal: Stop eating meat. It hurt the writing, I think. But by the end those rough places all reached their conclusions by painting a powerfully original picture. Overall, I feel like I don’t ever want to eat animals again, whether it’s because I don’t want them to experience any kind of suffering, or because I want to make this world more sustainable so that living here on earth could still be a future possibility, or because I just don’t want to put corpses into my mouth.

More than anything else, though, this quote exemplifies the rewards I’d collect by skipping meat:
“What kind of world would we create if three times a day we activated our compassion and reason as we sat down to eat … ?” Taking those moments out of life to be compassionate is truly a goal I wish to strive for.

( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
The author is clear about his position. The food industry is such that it's nearly impossible to eat meat ethically. While he can be strident, I enjoyed his study of the issue from a cultural, social, commercial and moral perspective, and his willingness to give a voice to all sides. The nature of the book is such that it will few people indifferent, either for or against.
For me, it refined my thought and position as I related it back to my own personal experience and the eating habits that I'm willing to modify... or not.
It's definitely thought-provoking. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Apr 3, 2021 |
Reality is a tough burger to swallow.
  crackmac | Mar 31, 2021 |
This was a really engaging book. I appreciated the firsthand accounts and commentary from people who work in the industry. I also appreciate that the author is coming from a perspective of compassion and welfare while not being PETA-level rabid regarding ethical consumption.

I've mostly watched documentaries about poor farming conditions in the past. My wife and I were vegetarians for over a year but started eating meat again. Having read this, I'm reminded of many of the reasons why we started eating vegetarian in the first place.

I'm not sure we'll ever eat vegetarian again, but we can reduce our neat consumption definitely. And I'm going to make an effort to be sure that any meat we buy is from animals that were mistreated as little as possible.

Factory farming is just disgusting. I can't imagine the health impact of eating animals that were tortured or slaughtered while still alive. ( )
  SGTCat | Feb 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Safran Foerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berton, GillesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biersma, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bogdan, IsabelÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarinard, RaymondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzke, IngoÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, Jonathan ToddNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voorhoeve, OnnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
"... 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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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.

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Hachette Book Group

2 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316069906, 0316069884

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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