Amanda Marshall – Notes on “Eating Animals”

Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer


  • Page 7 “Mark Twain said that quitting smoking is among the easiest things one can do; he did it all the time.”
    • Did people really quit smoking back then. I thought they didn’t know about the health effects.
  • Page 11: Food binds people together
    • “Stories about food are stories about us”. Kind of like archeological digs that study the food found in people’s stomach
  • Page 13: Factory farming is kind of like abortion. It’s an issue that “cuts to the deepest discomfort”
  • Page 17: “If nothing matters, then there is nothing to save.”

All or Nothing or Something Else:

  • Page 31: We care most about what is close to us. A general pattern of human behavior. Applies to people as well. We do not include people in poverty (especially overseas) as “us”
  • Page 31: Should vegetarianism have an “all or nothing” mindset?
  • Page 35: “Technologies of war have literally and systematically been applied to fishing.”
  • Page 37: “What we forget about animals, we begin to forget about ourselves.”
  • How can man collectively feel empathy for animals, when we have a hard time empathizing with other human beings?

Words Meaning:

  • Page 45: “Language is never fully trustworthy”
  • Page 72: This book was published in 2009, I wonder if PETA still holds the same amount of weight now. I do not think it does. It has fallen quite a bit in the public eye.


  • Interesting to hear the activist and farmer’s perspective
  • Page 100: Artificial breeding, not a conscious decision from the animals to become domesticated
  • Page 109: If we can make so many advances in productivity, why can’t we research advancing welfare while not hindering productivity?
  • Page 113: “A bird you can’t let live out of its adolescence”


  • Page 126: The talk about the flu and viruses reminds me of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Very scary
    • Page 140” aaahhh antibiotics are in every bird meal!
  • Page 134: “feces are now classified as a “cosmetic blemish”
  • Page 137 “Americans eat 150 times as many chickens as we did only eighty years ago.”

Slices of Paradise/Pieces of Shit:

  • Page 154: A very high turnover at the factory farms. Makes sense. Less turnover at the local place that operates differently
  • Page 156: Breeds are a product of artificial selection
    • Today, farm animals design destines them for pain
    • Unable to survive outside of their artificial setting
  • Page 161: Interesting that Mario loves small dogs, but runs a pig/livestock slaughterhouse. I guess you do have to distance your emotions with that kind of work, but pigs are almost the same as dogs.
    • He does run a more human slaughterhouse though.
  • Page 162: “American farmers are four times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.” Wow. The author brings up how the process is automated now, but is that a cause? Or just a correlation?
  • Page 169: Paul rotates his fields from pigs to crops. Smart
  • Page 171: The owners of the individual, small farms seem more proud of their work than the factory farmers.
  • Page 172: “Every time you make a decision about food you are farming by proxy”
  • Page 176: The factory farm process is only profitable because of the present lack of regulation
  • Page 183: This makes me want to adopt a pig so bad. Can’t get one of the poor genetically modified ones. But a potbellied pig would be really neat to have. Could you imagine it rooting under the covers and then falling asleep? Then having an area outside for it to run around, and play? I want a pig best friend. What a dream.
  • Page 191: “Roughly 4.5 million animals are killed as bycatch in longline fishing every year”
  • Page 198: “Now that my research is over, it will in only the rarest of circumstances that I will look into a farmed animal’s eyes. But many times a day, for many days of my life, I will look into my son’s.”

I Do:

  • Page 201: “Less than 1% of animals killed for meat in America come from family farms.”
  • Page 206: Husbandry is being replaced by industrial methods. Husbandry verses Industry. These words imply different meanings and priorities.
  • Page 208: Boycotting animal products is not enough. This does not except vegetarians or vegans from the responsibility of living in our culture. We have to pressure legislation.
  • Do we need all of this meat? Are we really feeding the starving?
    • Is the industries primary concern to feed people? Or profit?
  • Page 218: Eating meat can’t be compared to slavery because slavery is not universal, or universally/historically necessary for survival and nutrition.
  • Page 221: Reading this book, and considering other social issues like buying technology and clothes makes me realize that it is impossible to live as a completely moral person. At some point you HAVE to buy things from immoral companies that use slave labor, child labor, or are inhumane to animals. It’s a depressing realization.
  • Page 225: We take a “deep breath” when faced with many issues
  • Page 241: “Caring over the calculator”
    • I like this contributor and the vegetarian rancher. They believe in better treatment and processes, and are actually working toward the solution. They aren’t just spouting off their beliefs, they are doing something about them.
  • Reading this book I wonder, if we become vegetarian does that help factory farms? In order for better, local farms to persist and grow they have to be supported. People need to buy their products. The demand has to be raised in order for them to become more easily available.
  • Page 242: I like the point how it is hard to raise an animal with a commercial endeavor and not perceive it as a commercial commodity. It’s kind of an oxymoron.


  • Page 247: The descriptions of mismatched chairs with different heights remind me of my thanksgivings growing up. There is something nostalgic about imperfections, and the not picturesque. I loved the mismatched chairs. More people identify with that than the perfect Martha Stewart Holiday celebration.
  • Page 260: “No one loves to eat as much as we (the U.S.) do, and when we change what we eat, the world changes.”
  • Page 267: “If nothing matters, there is nothing left to save”, if we ignore our beliefs and morals than we are less of ourselves.
  • This book was published in 2009, seven years ago. I wonder what has changed? For the better, and for the worse.


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