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Eating Animals

The (a)morality of our eating habits and traditions

By Jonathan Safran Foer
18-minute read
Audio available
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals (2009) offers a comprehensive view of the modern meat industry and demonstrates how the entire production process has been so completely perverted that it is unrecognizable as farming anymore.

The book explains the moral and environmental costs incurred to achieve today‘s incredibly low meat prices.

  • Anyone interested in how meat is produced today and what the consequences are for people, animals and the environment.
  • Anyone who thinks of food as an important part of their lives, from full-blooded meat-eaters to vegetarians and vegans.

Jonathan Safran Foer is a promising young novelist from New York who has written the international bestsellers Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Contemplating the responsibilities of fatherhood lead the author to question what kind of diet he wished to provide his firstborn son. Eating Animals documents his findings and reflections on the topic.

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Eating Animals

By Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 12 key ideas
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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Synopsis

Eating Animals (2009) offers a comprehensive view of the modern meat industry and demonstrates how the entire production process has been so completely perverted that it is unrecognizable as farming anymore.

The book explains the moral and environmental costs incurred to achieve today‘s incredibly low meat prices.

Key idea 1 of 12

Factory farms are more factory than farm.

When most people think of a farm, they think of barns, pastures, red wooden houses and barnyard animals grazing peacefully.

This is history. 99% of all land-animals farmed in the US today come from so-called factory farms: industrialized, streamlined production facilities which bear zero resemblance to the “farms” in most consumers’ imaginations. A factory farm is more like an assembly line, where each animal is another unit to be processed as quickly and cheaply as possible.

The logic behind factory farms can be summed up with one word: efficiency.

Over the past century, farm animals have been bred to be so fast-growing that they are slaughtered as soon as they reach adolescence. This unnaturally rapid growth induces such severe hereditary health-problems that they are often unable to survive outside the factory farm.

Sick and injured animals are left to die where they fall. Any form of care, even mere rest and water, are considered inefficient and thus not provided.

Artificial lighting and ventilation ensure the animals’ internal clocks continually push them to grow. At the same time their feed is supplemented with vitamins and antibiotics to keep perpetually unhealthy creatures alive until slaughter.

Labor is minimized through automated herding, feeding and slaughter, but the few workers used are usually poorly paid and under constant stress, leading to mistakes and even deliberate sadism.

If you believe that the animals your chicken nuggets or pork chops are made from have ever seen the light of day or felt grass under their feet, you are living a fantasy of bygone times.

Today, animals are a nameless, faceless mass being processed.

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