Eating Animals, By Jonathan Safran Foer
The unpalatable truth about meat
Sunday 13 February 2011
On becoming a father for the first time, Jonathan Safran Foer started to think about the kind of food his family would be eating and determined to find out "what meat is"; where it comes from and the conditions under which it is produced. This horrifying, poignant, revelatory book is the result.
The author finds that many factory-farmed animals are routinely subjected to unutterable cruelty. He exposes the sadistic treatment that is commonplace in many factory slaughterhouses, and the debilitating effects upon animals of a cramped and unnatural environment. His research is exhaustive (there are 60 pages of notes) and for the most part, he lets the evidence speak for itself. This is no polemic, just a clear-eyed examination of how the vast majority of the world's meat is produced.
Foer is especially good when he turns to the ethical imperative this information raises, addressing what he calls the "stories" we tell ourselves about eating animals. These stories, he admits, can constitute an important part of cultural tradition – the Sunday roast, the Christmas turkey – and should not be dismissed lightly. But they also involve a sort of selective blindness: we treat our pets lovingly but by buying factory-farmed meat, we acquiesce in a system of brutality.
Foer's conclusion is disquieting: "We live on tortured flesh." Words that will give pause, surely, to even the most committed carnivore.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore disappears over Java Sea
- 5 Naomi Wolf reacts to Isis 'conspiracy theories' critism after she questions whether beheading videos are real
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The golden age of TV comedy is here
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
From Marvel to Star Wars: The rise of cinema’s shared universes
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment