This book was deeply upsetting to me even though I already had a vague idea of what goes on in factory farms. Just seeing it described like that, in the style it’s written in, honestly made me cry a few times. The scene where the slaughterhouse worker was talking about cutting the pig’s snout off made me have to set the book down and just kind of sob for a few minutes because it was so awful. Even though I’ve seen the PETA ads, I’ve seen pictures of factory farms, I never thought much about what I was contributing to by eating meat. I also honestly thought more of the meat I ate came from more humane farms, and I wholeheartedly believed in “cage free” and labels like that. Now that I’ve read this book, I’m probably going to stop eating meat again. I was a vegetarian from the time I was eight to the time I was sixteen because of animal welfare concerns and I’ve thought a bit about going back to it and I think Eating Animals pushed me over the edge.
Something I really liked about Foer’s writing was his use of personal experiences from both his own life and the lives of ranchers, factory farmers, and others. It gave a humanness to this story about animals, which I think is important- not to anthropomorphize the animals, but to animal-ize the humans. As much as animals are shown to have emotions and thoughts, people are shown to act on instinct- doing cruel things for money, lashing out against animals under poor conditions, ect. It shows that humans act in these ways under the pressures of late capitalism, and that it is not natural for us just as it isn’t natural for animals to live in confined conditions. In a way, humans are being factory farmed, too, but for labor rather than flesh. Just look at our prisons and how people are being forced to work in terrible conditions for literal pennies per hour! Or, more commonly, how humans are forced to put their whole lives and all their energy into their jobs, no matter how unpleasant, just to survive. As a farm animals purpose is to be eaten, a human’s purpose under late capitalism is to work. I think that making this connection is important in being more compassionate both to humans and to animals, and that animal welfare really has a lot to do with human rights. This is why I have chosen to stop giving my money to factory farms, because they are the purest representation of injustice against both humans and animals. Maybe it won’t make much of a difference (it didn’t when i was vegetarian before, but then again I was just a kid back then) but I do agree that the way we eat influences the way people around us eat, and that creates a ripple effect. I’m looking forward to seeing how this dietary change affects my health, my ideals, and the diets of people around me.
Current Event: Wild Elephants Clock Shortest Shut-eye recorded for Mammals
Recent studies using fitbit-like monitors and gyroscopic collars on wild elephants show that they sleep two hours or less per day, and they rarely lie down to sleep. I think this is interesting because it would seem like larger animals would sleep more- but the article says otherwise, showng a clear connection between larger size and less sleep. It says this may be because larger animals need to eat and do more to maintain their size, and thus sleep less. It also brings up new questions about what sleep is for, since it was thought to be for categorizing memories but elephants have amazing memories that can cross generations. The other thing this made me think about was that animals in the wild sleep less than animals in captivity. It reminds me of Eating Animals, because the book talked about boredom in animals and the self-injurous activities they do, and oversleeping might be something they do out of boredom. The article says that they sleep less in the wild because there are predators and other such dangers, which fits with this.