As a book of the month goes this one is the hardest I've had to read. Dave bought this one day and as a vegetarian turned meat eater it seemed to make sense as a choice for him. I heard Foer on Sierra Club Radio and I thought his perspective as a Jewish vegetarian father on a journey through the factory farm industry sounded very compelling. Compelling is the least of it. Eating Animals is a book that takes you there...that place that is uncomfortable, sadistic and scary. Do you know what the animals you eat have gone through? Do you eat them and want to avoid thinking about it? I will admit that I often do. At home we eat organic meats, Foer explains that organic has little to do with how the animals are ultimately treated. The farmers that Foer interviews are doing their best to live up to different standards though none of them could convince the author to become an omnivore. There were moments I had to put this book down. I've seen some anti-meat industry videos of downed cows and animals in tiny cages just waiting to be killed for human dinner tables. The realities are unbelievable. How could humans treat any living creature this way?
There is a current of bias on Foer's part that he bases on the three years of research he did while writing the book. While he visited many farms and slaughterhouses and was given tours he also went to factory farms with activists in secret. But there is a difference if you grow up on a farm. By that I mean you are closer to the life and death cycle and you live with the animals every day. The author made his choice of what to eat based on his values and his judgments regarding the degree of pain animals are subjected to. As middle to upper class North Americans we have the privilege to choose not to eat animals. He briefly brings up worldwide diets but more in relation to sustaining meat consumption on the scale Americans are at today. He also doesn't touch on the health factors raised in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.
This book is worth reading if you care about what you eat. Factory farming is horrendous and needs to be abolished. How omnivores reconcile their choices effects the existence of these "farms". This book will help you if you want to be a responsible consumer and a responsible diner.