I started reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals during last (long) weekend’s trip to visit Claire in Phnom Penh. Today, I finished it. Three holiday-days, and one hour at home.
To give a very brief summary, the book challenges the way you think about the chicken, pork, beef, and fish we eat, though it is not a bible for vegetarianism. It tackles the recent issue of factory-farming in what I think is a biased, but fair light. By biased I mean the message is undoubtably that factory-farming it’s wrong, but it does not deliver the message aggressively. In essence, Eating Animals is not only about why the meat industry is the way it is, but about why we should care.
The author presents the issue/s in much the same way as I myself process and decide on important, controversial, and moral issues, by highlighting both sides (or more in this case) of the issue-coin. 9 times out of 10, I’ll automatically get my intellectual back up about opinion-dividing issues, because often when someone is arguing passionately, they’re really arguing blindly. In these scenarios I’ll frequently play devil’s advocate — even if I agree with them — just to make sure they know and understand what they are talking about. I cannot respect an opinion when that person discounts other opinions or views without consideration. It’s bullshit. (Note: never enter an argument about politics or religion. See also: Don’t argue with stupid people…)
As a reading experience, It’s great. It’s written in a style that appeals to me. It’s funny, and clever, with nuggets like this:
“…eating “man’s best friend” is as taboo as a man eating his best friend.”[1. See what he did there?]
However, not too often. Too often would get annoying. And unfortunately in much of the book, clever jokes would not fly.
Eating Animals is Insightful, if not disturbing. It has forced me to begin think about what I eat, and why, and begin to consider changing my generations-old eating habits. I use the word ‘begin’ specifically because I’ve only just finished the book (a few hours ago) and I need to stew on it for a while[2. See what I did there?], but even at this early stage I can’t foresee myself eating meat in the same way. Something must change; I’m yet to find out what that will be and how I’ll do it.
I recommend reading Eating Animals if you’re conscious about what you eat, and especially if you easily get your back up about opinion-dividing issues. You shall not be disappointed.
Photo credit: elycefeliz on Flickr.