Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer
My Goodreads rating – 4 out of 5 stars
Eating Animals is a brilliant non-fiction novel written by Jonathan Safron Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Jonathan grew up eating meat, and then was a vegetarian off and on for a number of years, and is now a vegan. After he had his first child, Jonathan wanted to really look into the meat and dairy industries to see whether he wanted to feed his child animal products, and documents in the novel what he found.
When I was looking at the reviews for this book on Goodreads, the most common comment was that this book should be required reading for everyone, whether they’re meat eaters, vegetarians or vegans. And after reading it, I 100% agree. This novel is so informative and is not preachy at all. Jonathan doesn’t just say ‘EATING ANIMALS IS BAD – YOU MUST BE VEGAN’. Instead, he covers a wide range of topics surrounding vegetarianism.
Like most people in the Western world, I grew up eating meat and dairy. It was just the norm, and is the norm for most people. But even though I always ate meat, I never really ate that much. Neither of my parents eat red meat, and so I rarely ate it. The only meat I frequently ate was chicken and fish. But then over the last year or so, I had started to cut back on meat, eating it around twice a week. I didn’t do this for any particular reason, but I just found that I would rather vegetarian options. Recently, I was considering becoming pescatarian or vegetarian, and so I decided to read this book. I have now been a pescatarian for nearly two months, and I couldn’t be happier.
This book didn’t feel like propaganda at all. I think that over the past few years, vegans and vegetarians have gotten a reputation of being very preachy but this book isn’t. As it’s title says, it is just a book that plainly examines why we eat animals, and how the animals we eat live, are slaughtered, and prepared for human consumption.
I think the most hard-hitting part of this book was not the descriptions of factory farms and animal slaughter (which were hard to read), but when Jonathan talks about how he came to realise that the chicken on his plate was actually chicken. As a society, we dissociate ourselves from the meat industry and just see the meat that we eat as meat, not a former animal.
This book was definately not an easy read, but I would, as I said, recommend it to everyone. Whether you eat meat or not, I strongly believe that we need to be informed of what we’re putting into our bodies, and how we can all eat more ethically, whether that’s becoming vegan, pescetarian or vegetarian, or just buying free range products, or taking part in ‘meat-free Monday’.
If you’re interested on learning more about vegetarianism, or just interested in leating less meat, The Vegetarian Society website has some great info and recipes.
Let me know if you’ve read this book, or if you’re planning to! Also let me know about your experience with eating meat/animal products, whether you eat meat or not. I know this is quite a controversial topic, but I’m interested in everyone’s views 🙂