Eating Animals

I don’t think I can say enough good things about this book.  I enjoyed it from beginning to end and was not plagued with boredom anytime in between.  I really enjoyed that he started the book with a story about his grandmother, giving us a perspective on just how important food can be.  It not only gives us life, but it brings families and friends together in social situations.  I also liked that he began the book with his explanation of his ‘vegetarianism.’  He did it at first for the right reasons, but always went back to meat.  Then he eventually just did it to go along with the crowd.  The funny thing about this is that he wasn’t actually a vegetarian, he was an ‘in the closet’ meat eater pretending to be a vegetarian.  I think this may apply to a number of vegetarians in the U.S.; people who would like to deem themselves vegetarian but do not have the will power to give up the tasty hunks of meat.

I liked that he gave a very detailed description of his dog, George, then posed the question of why we don’t eat dog.  Because it is inhumane?  Because we love them?  Why would it be any different than eating a cow or a pig?  We have objectified these animals whereas we have cared for and been attached to dogs.

I was amazed at the different statistic about the fish industry, as well as bycatch.  He states that shrimp account for only 2% of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling accounts for 33% of global bycatch.  He then goes on to list every single sea creature that is caught in the process of trying to catch tuna.  I had no idea this many underwater dwellers were being killed just so humans can enjoy some canned tuna.  I find it quite repulsive that this is legal and that this process somehow makes sense to people.  Why do we have the power to take the lives of these creatures and why hasn’t anything been done about this?

I was also very interested when Foer was talking about the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted from livestock.  Livestock is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and animal agriculture is responsible for 37% of anthropogenic methane.  I find this to be absolutely insane. 

I like that Foer gets the perspective of many different people, from a factory farmer, to a vegetarian rancher, to the last poultry farmer.  This may show that he is somewhat less biased and actually well educated on the topic he is discussing.  In the “I Am a Factory Farmer” section, this man talks about how we can’t look at him as being inhumane because we are the reasons he does this.  People simply want to be able to point a finger at someone, when in reality we are all responsible for this.  Factory farming wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t greedily crave more and more meat.

Learning about the complete processes of animal agriculture put a big knot in my stomach.  I couldn’t even look at the sauce covered meat at dinner tonight without feeling a bit nauseas.  The way these different places treat animals is revolting and has actually prompted me to make an attempt to discontinue eating meat.  I have tried this once before, after watching the ‘Meet You Meat’ video.  However, this time I learned in detail exactly how these animals are treated (more like mistreated) on factory farms and I am completely repulsed by it. 

Some quotes I enjoyed:

“Our psychologies are not the same or similar, but each of us has a perspective, a way of processing and experiencing the world that is intrinsic and unique.”

“If we were to one day encounter a form of life more powerful and intelligent than our own, and it regarded us as we regard fish, what would be our argument against being eaten?”

“To think the war we find ourselves waging is not only a duty, a responsibility, an obligation, is it also a necessity, a constraint that, like it or not, directly or indirectly, no one can escape . . . . The animal looks at us, and we are naked before it.”

“Why is taste, the cruelest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses?”

“What I hate it when consumers act as if farmers want these things, when it’s consumers who tell farmers what to grow.”

“On average, Americans eat the equivalent of 21,000 entire animals in a lifetime.”

Questions:

  • Why are these places still allowed mistreating animals like this and why hasn’t someone stood up against all of this?
  • But really, why don’t we eat dog?

P.S. I still can’t post pictures.

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