Book Reviews

Eating Animals

February 11th, 2013 by Elly McGuinness from Natural Balance Health and Fitness

Author

Jonathan Safran Foer

Author/Book Website

Review

When Jonathan found out he was going to be a father, the motivation for this book was born. He simply wanted to know where meat comes from, how it is produced, how animals are treated and to what extent that matters. This book is primarily focused on how our food choices affect the ecology of the planet and the lives of animals, but also touches on the grave concern for health, global poverty and decaying rural communities that are profoundly affected by eating animals – specifically those which have been factory farmed. Based on research in America, the facts and statistics are overwhelming….and the situation is not dissimilar to that of other developed nations including New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

It is all too common for people to be ‘ignorant’ about where their food comes from – not to question it or think about what happened before it became a tasty chunk of meat on their dinner plate. Just because something is ‘normal’, it doesn’t make it right, and for anyone with a conscience to leave the world in a better place than they found it, for anyone with a desire to improve the planet for future generations, and for anyone who believes in respect, love and care for all beings, this book is a must read. Covering perspectives from vegetarians and vegans to the family farmer and factory farmer, along with researched facts and figures, I would be surprised if in the least this book doesn’t convince you never to eat factory farmed meat again.

Some of the mind blowing facts and figures from the book:

  • Modern industrial fishing lines can be as long as 75 miles – the same distance as from sea level to space (pg 20)
  • Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transport in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change (pg 44)
  • Chickens once had a life expectancy of 15-20 years but the modern broiler (chicken raised for meat) is typically killed at around 6 weeks (pg 48)
  • The average shrimp trawling operation throws 80-90% of the sea animals it catches overboard, dead or dying, as bycatch (pg 49)
  • One can reliably assume that most ‘free-range’ (or ‘cage-free’) laying hens are debeaked, drugged and cruelly slaughtered once ‘spent’ (pg 61)
  • From 1935-1995, the average weight of ‘broilers’ increased by 65%, while their time to market dropped 60% & their feed requirements dropped 57% (pg 106)
  • For each food animal species, animal agriculture is now dominated by the factory farm – 99.9% of chickens raised for meat, 97% of laying hens, 99% of turkeys, 95% of pigs & 78% of cattle (pg 109)
  • WHO suggests “a relatively conservative estimate from 2 million-7.4 million deaths” if bird flu jumps to humans and becomes airborne” (pg 122)
  • The highest rates of osteoporosis are seen in countries where people consume the most dairy foods (pg 143)
  • Nearly one third of the land surface of the planet is dedicated to livestock (pg 147)

These are just a few of the facts. The ugly truth about what goes on in between the birth and death of factory farmed animals is explored in detail in this eye opening book.

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