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4.6 out of 5 stars
Eating Animals
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
The author brings a novelist's talent for observation and description to the subject of farmed animals and the people who eat them. It is very engaging and horrifying in just the right measure and I found myself confronted with information I hadn't heard before, despite lots of reading on this topic. I was fascinated with his ethical dilemma and how he took us through it all, both from his point of view and those of others.

His conclusions are not mine, nor is this book the perfect statement of my own philosophy, but I think it is a step in the right direction and it is getting a lot of attention. Martha Stewart had him on her show and she said to her audience, "I think you'll agree with most of what [the author] has to say." Really? I think most of them don't want to hear it. Great quote from J.M Coetzee on the book jacket for those who do dare read it: "The everyday horrors of factory farming are evoked so vividly, and the case against the people who run the system is presented so convincingly, that anyone who, after reading Foer's book, continues to consume the industry's products must be without a heart, or impervious to reason, or both."

We'll see. Human beings have an amazing capacity for rationalizing their own actions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2010
I've been advocating for animal welfare for over two years now, and to do so, I needed to base my sayings upon solid facts and texts. This book is one of the best I've come to read both in interest and in argumentation quality.

This is so because the author uses not properly an argumentation but the presentation of what has found on the field and in his extensive research and text-reading on the subject. He presents his own experience as a person that want to know what's really happening to things he consumes and that therefore must investigate in places where he is not necessarily welcomed. He also presents social situations that a person concerned about animal welfare and environmental issues related to meat production may encounter. This is a breath-taking informative kind of writing. I warn you that there is actually no plot in this book but our own existence as consumers, which is big enough to motivate you to read the whole story.

It doesn't get a 5-star rating because it is not perfectly complete. It lacks some aspects like the situation of individual farmers as beings behind the big companies that own the production and their desire and/or capacity of returning to a smaller form of agriculture. It could have talked more about the international and globalization context in which agriculture is now part of, which might explain, but not excuse, some of the behavior encountered in farmers.

Ultimately, I recommend this book to any single person who eats or has eaten meat, which is virtually everyone. If you want to say that you know what you are eating, you have to read this book, especially if you're an American.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2013
Eating Animals

I recently finished the book "Eating Animals," by Johnathan Safran Foer. Before I go any further I'd like to state for the record that I am not a vegetarian. I approached this book as someone who eats meat and enjoys eating meat. After finishing reading it, I would say that I'm not convinced enough by the arguments of the author to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, but will certainly give thought to reducing the amount of meat that is part of my diet.

While I liked the general tenor of the book, I found its overall structure rather disjointed and hared to follow. I think the reason for this is that Foer tries to do too much with the book and ends up not doing enough. This stems in large part from Foer's desire to be as accommodating as possible to his carnivorously inclined readers.

Another contributing factor to this is Foer's bringing in to the book elements of the origins of our meat eating habits. These to me, are the weakest part of the book for he fails to address these questions in any depth. He often introduces one of these subjects only to almost immediately veer off into another discussion on factory farming and meat production. More detail on the cultural aspects of our meat eating habits would be very welcome. As well a more structured look at the relationships between us and the animals we eat would make the book better.

To his credit Foer is very sensitive to the people that he meets along the way, whether they be part of the factory farm, food producing movement, adamantly opposed to it, or caught somewhere in-between. The stories these individuals tell enable the reader to get a real strong sense of the many nuances that are involved in the production and consumption of meat products.

When I speak of nuance, I am referring to the raising and slaughtering of meat that is done outside of the factory farm process. There is no nuance within that world. If there is one thing Foer's book makes clear time and time again, it is that our current way of mass-producing meat for consumer consumption is barbaric to the nth degree. It is not only barbaric in the way that the animals are treated in the slaughter process, but also in the way it affects the mental state of those who are involved in the production of the meat.

So now the hard part, change. There is no doubt that Foer is right when he says that the only reason we don't eat less meat is that we are unwilling to. Yet, I love eating meat, especially when I can get it cheap. Nonetheless, I think that over the next couple of months I'm going to try and make an effort to add at least a couple of meatless days to my eating habits. It's only a small start, but if we multiplied small starts by hundreds of millions of people, maybe we could bring our meat eating habits under control a little, and help remove a little cruelty out of our world. Perhaps I even need to include Boon Burger as a destination when I go out to eat. I've been there once and it was terrific.
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on February 14, 2015
Great book! The author doesn't just state an opinion, he really did his research and exposes all aspects of industrial farming. A must read.
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