I enjoyed reading this book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer a lot, which is interesting to me because I spent a lot of the time being appalled and disgusted by what it was that I was learning. I guess I always knew that the meat industry was not very pleasant nor very humane but I never really had an idea just how bad it was today. I didn’t really bother to investigate it before because I was fine not knowing and keeping myself in the dark in regards to the whole system. The closest that I ever got to reading about it before this book was when I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair in 9th grade. It disgusted me then, reading about what went on in the slaughterhouses, but I was able to write it off as being a thing of the past and that by today’s standards this would never be allowed to take place. Well, I guess I was a little off in that assumption…it is by many accounts worse today. Now not only are the slaughter houses bad, but the entire lives – if that’s what you call 39 days for a chicken and less than a year for most hogs – spent in misery and cruelty. I understand that this is the price we have paid for cheap meat, but I am having a very hard time being ok with it. Hearing the stories of what workers regularly do to the animals they are caring for or slaughtering is unreal to me. I cannot conceive what would drive a human to these limits, to attack something so defenseless in such a ruthless and cruel manner is so wrong, it seems almost like acts of insanity.
This whole book has made me really question myself and my actions. I eat meat. Not a lot, by any means, but I still eat it once or twice a week. I could take comfort in the fact that this is a lot less than most Americans. But hearing about the corporations that I am supporting even with this small amount of consumption disturbs me. Even if I am only supporting the system a little, I am still supporting it, and I have been supporting it my entire life, even though unknowingly. This calls me to question what else I am unknowingly supporting? If I am unaware does that excuse my support? Is obliviousness a valid excuse? Somehow I do not really think so. Regardless, in the case of eating animals I am no longer oblivious, I know now and I guess the question now is what am I going to do…? I think that one of the reasons that this book made such a difference to me was that it did an excellent job of presenting more than just one side of the story. Jonathan Safran Foer end with coming to the decision that he cannot support the meat industry but he does not condone all who do not reach the same conclusion. In fact he talks of some of the farmers that he met with great respect. Although this book is completely against factory farming it allows you to choose for yourself what you will do with this knowledge; which for me is something that I still need to figure out…. What do I want to put in my body, is that healthy for me or the environment, and what am I supporting by my actions, can I look at myself in the same way if I ignore all this?