Pacia Purcell: Eating Animals

This book tried to give a look into every aspect of why the way we raise animals for human consumption is bad. It was trying to appeal to every person, because obviously looking at the way these animals are treated is not bad enough to warrant a response towards vegetarianism, or even a response at all. As a vegetarian a lot of what was said in the book resonates with me, and a lot of it I already knew. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel like it was a useful read for me and would be for anyone.

There is one part where the author, a vegetarian, says that there are certain circumstances in which he would eat meat and even circumstances in which he said he would eat a dog. But would he eat his own dog or someone else’s? Being a vegetarian for as long I have, a little over 8 years, I have had many people ask me the question of would I ever eat meat again? My answer is no. Then comes the question of what if you were stranded somewhere and the only thing there you could eat was meat would you do it? Well duh. I love animals, but I also love life. If I was in this situation then I would be like an animal again, having to fight to stay alive, eating like an animal. I would not be looking to eat something because I liked the taste, but because I needed to stay alive. However, I cannot say for certainty whether or not I would eat a dog in this situation, but I can say for certainty that I would not eat my own dog.

The book talks about more sustainable and humane ways of raising animals for food, such as on more traditional-like farms. However, meat from these farm generally costs more to raise. They are kept alive longer, meaning more food that one has to feed them over their lifetime. They also require more land space and these farms usually cannot support the vast number of animals that factory farms can. Because the animal’s cost of living increases so does the cost of their bodies after they are slaughtered and sold for meat. Those living in poverty, or who are just cheap and would rather spend their money not supporting a more humane way of raising animals, cannot or will not afford these animals. With the way Americans today eat meat it would be nearly impossible to switch over to these types of farms for the production of all the meat animals. Things would have to go back to how they were before factory farms were the main suppliers of meat, where people ate less meat and had to pay a higher price for it. This is highly unlikely, as people love their meat and the meat industry makes a vast amount of money.

“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?” Very few people in this country can plead ignorance to what is happening in and because of the meat industry. People may not know to what extent all of this is happening, but the majority does know that it is happening. So why don’t people stop supporting the industry? If you were walking down the street and you came across someone beating and mutilating a pig as it was screaming (because pigs do scream) would you stop the abuser, or would you keep walking? I believe the majority of people would stop and at least tell the person to stop, but then they might go and have some bacon from a pig that came from a factory farm. What a hypocrite. How are people who eat the meat any better than those who cruelly abuse the animals?

“Not responding is a response – we are equally responsible for what we don’t do.” The author states that this book is not a call to arms to become vegetarian, but it kind of is. By not eating meat people do make an impact. There are so many vegetarians in the country that they do make a difference, even if it is only a small one. Being a vegetarian is taking a stance against the meat industry, but also not being a vegetarian is taking a stance for the meat industry and the inhumane treatment of such animals. People feel a disconnect with their food. However if they knew and saw the story of the chicken that they were eating, would they still eat it?

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