Eating Animals: Part 1

I've just finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I can't even begin to describe how much this book has affected me.  I can't say I enjoyed it.  I don't know who could.  It's one of the most terrifying books I've ever read.  But I really loved the book, all the same.  I've been struggling with how to post about it on this blog.  I knew I wanted to, that I had to.  But I didn't know how.  This is a delicate issue.  It makes a lot of people feel judged and defensive.  And I don't want to offend anyone and prevent them from reading/listening.  Because it's beyond important.  It's vital.  So I've decided to post a series of posts here and there, to gently work into the issue.  As a start:

I also want to include the following points as a precursor:
  1. I'm a vegetarian.  I have been since I was 15.  (Though I cut out types of meat in stages, since when I informed my mother that  I wasn't going to eat meat at 15 years old, she said, "Unless you're going to start cooking for yourself and the rest of the family, you'll eat what I make you."  :)  But my mother is wonderful, and she let me stop eating red meat at that time.)
  2. I don't think there is anything wrong with the practice of eating meat, in and of itself.  
  3. I grew up in a family that ate meat, and still does.  
  4. I personally believe that people need to be educated, but also respected.  People need to know the facts behind the choices that they make.  BUT, they need to be allowed to make choices for themselves.  Mutual respect is important.  It's the only way to come together.  It's how I strive to treat other people, it's how I'm raising my children, and it's how I want to approach this issue. 
  5. This book is NOT an attempt to get people to stop eating meat.  It's about the evils of factory farming.  
  6. This is NOT an issue of animals being killed for food.  It's about what we're doing to the animals we kill (both in how they're treated and what we've done to their genetics), what we're doing to our environment, and the inevitable toll it's taking (and will continue to take) on our health, our economy and our world.  
  7. Animals matter.  Life in all forms matter.  Suffering matters.  Our health matters.  Our choices matter.

ps. I'm reblogging this video from Zelig Skykiller.  I think it serves as a good starting point. 

1 comment:

Jen said...

Thanks for writing this, Adam. It's one of those topics that is so important (the future of the world, basically) but also so personal... this is one of the best, non-judgmental overtures to conversation that I've read.

I do eat meat, but over the past few years I've cut way back and strive to cut back even more. I like Mark Bittman's staged take on it - he's vegan until 6pm, after which he eats and drinks what he likes - an achievable stepping stone for people who worry that they're depriving themselves by changing their diet. If vegan is to far, then vegetarian until 6pm - it doesn't have to be all or nothing, even going meatless a couple days a week (for a family who eats meat every day) can make a difference. Mindfulness is the first step.