Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Books of 2009: Eating Animals

It's that time of year again, and your friendly neighborhood librarians are eager to tell you about the best books of 2009. Here is Leslie with a review of her favorite book of the year.

If not the most enjoyable book I've read in 2009, Eating Animals is probably the most important. The author, Jonathan Safran Foer investigates factory farms, the chief way we now raise, slaughter and process meat and poultry products in the United States. Mostly gone are family farms, replaced by immense processing plants owned by corporations like Tyson and Purdue, holding amounts of livestock unthinkable in the past. We hear the voice of a man who grew up on a family farm with 50 cows, and now works in a factory farm of 1,200 cows, the smallest possible number needed to stay in business and to keep up with our demand for meat and dairy products.

In the last 50 years home prices have risen 1,500 percent, car prices 1,400 percent, but eggs and chicken meat haven’t even doubled. This comfortable situation makes it harder to focus on the reality of factory farms. That chickens are packed so tightly each has less room to move than an 8x11 sheet of paper. That the meat we eat and the milk we drink is full of hormones fed to cows. That laws against animal cruelty and those dealing with sanitation and inspection of meat products can’t keep up with the vast amount of processing that occurs.

Although a vegetarian himself, the author didn't write the book to convert carnivores. By visiting farms (sometimes surreptitiously) Foer got a first-hand look at the conditions of the animals being held and the entire process from farm to table. His aim is to expose inhumane and unsanitary conditions, and to make us think about how our beloved hamburgers reach our table, and how much we are willing to overlook (including our own health) to get them there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peace on Earth???

Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan:

Also see Gary Yourofsky: