I recently re-read a book by one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer, called Eating Animals. Originally published in 2009, Foer’s book is an intriguing look into why humans eat meat, and the environmental, ethical, and moral implications of consuming it. The idea came about when Foer’s son was born, and helps him to decide whether or not he raises his son on a vegetarian diet or not. As the new year begins, I hope to be more mindful of what I eat, and consume less meat–for both ethical and environmental reasons.
I also saw Foer speak at Rackham this past fall, presenting his new title We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. A seasoned fiction writer, Foer now turns to discussions of how diet choices affect climate change and writes from an honest and personal point of view.
In Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer utilizes many sets of stories to illustrate powerful points: he describes in gory detail the conditions of modern factory farms which kill thousands of cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, but also interviews owners of small family farms whose practices are more ethical but dwindling. Foer eventually comes to the conclusion that eating animals is a sort of negligence of our own humanity, because both humans and animals can suffer, yet one species is deemed superior to the other.
In an era where people are becoming more conscious of their food and where it comes from, Eating Animals is a stark but real look into the industrialized farming complex within the United States. While switching to a totally vegetarian or vegan diet can be a lot for some people, Foer urges that even small choices such as not eating meat for one meal or one day still carries a significant impact, especially if many people do so. If you are thinking about decreasing your meat consumption, or simply want to learn more about the meat industry and its effects, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Foer’s books and dig in.