I really enjoyed Foer’s book on Eating Animals. This is a book formed by partly memoir and partly investigative report, which is a novel-like book with informations I would have most interest to read, especially, it is about food. In this very first chapter of Storytelling, where Foer talked about his background in his eating habits, Foer was swinging back and forth about his position of being a omnivore and vegetarian. The reason that Foer stated, for his vegetarianism all through his life until college, was the feeling of hurting animals. Even though he did not want to hurt, his swinging of positions back and forth was because of his desire to eat the tasty meat. I understand and really appreciate his rationale of becoming a vegetarian because of that, since almost all animals raised in America are raised through factory farming, and and I do think that IT IS unethical raising animals this way. However, from a different culture, which the situation in my culture have not got as worse as here (meaning there are still a lot of famers making their effort to farm animals in the open area of their field), and having a mixed culture of hunting and farming in the ancient times, I do believe there is nothing wrong in eating animals, as long as we are conscious about what we eat.
I find some of Foer’s points are very compelling to me. In chapter two where he addressed the historian Sir Keith Thomas’ argument: “It encouraged the middle classes to form optimistic conclusions about animal intelligence; it gave rise to innumerable anecdotes about animal sagacity; it stimulated the notion that animals could have character and individual personality; and it created the psychological foundation for the view that some animals at least were entitled to moral consideration.”(p.23) Yes, keeping companion with pets will make people love them, we will know that they are intelligent creatures who have their own personalities, and will know that some of them at least were entitled to moral consideration. However, by spreading the awareness of animals (pets), we are in the same time taming them, which means, their behaviours, personalities, and even moral considerations, are shaped by us, humans. It seems like that we are trying to understand the nature of these animals while we are trying to influence them as well. And when mentioning ‘pet-keeping’ (p.22), Thomas is thinking of them as a lower level creatures who are born to be tamed, and serving humans. I feel like something is missing in Thomas’ idea, or maybe it is simply me not liking the idea of pets. Then when Foer explained, I understood my feeling toward pets, it is because we are not only treating animals equally, but we are treating some animals as more equal than others. We eat cows, chickens, goats, but most of us would have moral concerns in choosing to eat dogs.
There are a lot of information provided in the book that shocked me, for instance, when Foer mentioned that “millions of dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters every year become the food for our food”(p.27). And there are a lot of ideas that I have never thought about. The most interesting and compelling part of the book to me, is that Foer is trying to contradicting every point of view, and he respect all of the rationales behind them. I think this is a great book that talks about animals and animal farming from different perspectives, which gives people a lot to think rather than trying to convince people of his own perspective.