For the past few years I have had vegetarian phases; my reasons for avoiding meat were generally ethical and followed reading such books as Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. However, because I frankly like the taste of meat – and it is a challenge to eat vegetarian when living with a confirmed meat eater – I always drifted back to including it in my diet. Two recent works have drifted me back to meatless eating – the documentary Food, Inc., and the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Both of these showed me factory farming in a light that has made me question what won’t business do to make money.
Mr. Foer was inspired to write his book after the birth of his son; he wanted to know where the food he was to be feeding his son came from. His search took him on (clandestine) visits to factory farms and to farms that despite overwhelming odds are trying to raise animals for food in a humane manner.
It is not an easy book to read – and certainly not one to be read while eating anything. Ultimately the book advocates vegetarianism as both a way to prevent animal cruelty and to boycott the factory farming industry (very much linked together), but Foer also describes the conflict that he and other vegetarians have had with meat eating – specifically referring to the Thanksgiving meal and other family/cultural traditions that center around food.
I don’t know if “enjoying” is the right word to describe how I felt about reading this book, but it certainly was interesting and gave me a lot to think about regarding how I eat.