Other Books

Eating Animals

Safran Foer, Jonathan - Finished May 16, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

Jonathan Safran Foer confronts the reader with the brutal truths about the devastating ethical and environmental problems with factory farming in a bid to get people to become vegetarians.


Oh man, this one is a doozy! I’ve never considered myself much of an activist. I’m an affluent white male, so I get to not worry about stuff like this, right? So, when my friend recommended me this book I knew it was going to be challenging. I spend a lot of time thinking about what books to read next, and this is the kind of thing that I love getting advice from people for: it takes me in a new direction that I probably wouldn’t have gone myself, and thus challenges my preconceived notions and forces me to expand my thinking.

As with most people, I’m sure, as I read this book I was confronted with strong negative emotions. There’s a lot that I hate about the book. I don’t like the way it is laid out, and the writing can be an annoying, aimless guilt trip. The skeptic in me often doubted the extent of the truth of the information being presented, and I found myself not liking Jonathan Safran Foer.

Even still, I often had to question if my distaste was really due to the horrible feelings that he was forcing me to confront. Like most people in our society, I already had a vague general awareness of the brutal reality that this book exposes, but I hate going through the uncomfortable experience of confronting it and then justifying my behavior. Yeah yeah, farming is evil, lay off it already! For this reason this is one of the hardest books I’ve read this year.

I’ve been chewing on it for months now, and still feel somewhat unresolved. How do I assimilate this information into my life? While it didn’t flat out make me a vegetarian (for more than a couple weeks,) it has certainly changed my behavior. I’ll only by ethical eggs now and I’ll avoid shrimp altogether. Thats easy because I don’t think they are that tasty anyway. I’ll be thinking about this subject for a long time, but for now, I think I can live with myself through conscious moderation of meat consumption.

Final Thoughts

A tough book about a tough subject. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian and have no plans to be, this is the special type of book that will challenge your outlook, and for that alone it is worth reading.

Side note: isn’t it odd how people use the phrase “convert to vegetarianism” as if it were a religion?

Favorite Quote

“The average shrimp-trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures overboard, dead or dying, as by catch. Shrimp account for only 2 percent of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling accounts for 33 percent of global by catch. … So, with trawled shrimp from Indonesia, for example, the label might read: 26 POUNDS OF OTHER SEA ANIMALS WERE KILLED AND TOSSED BACK INTO THE OCEAN FOR EVERY 1 POUND OF THIS SHRIMP.”