A compelling case against eating animals, though not for vegetarianism
Jonathan safran foer has also written , , and . he wrote in the first chapter of this 2009 book, "this story didn't begin as a book. i simply wanted to know... what meat is... where does it come from? how is it produced? how are animals treated... i came face-to-face with realities that as a citizen i couldn't ignore, and as a writer i couldn't keep to myself... [i] assumed that my book about eating animals would become a straightforward case for vegetarianism. it didn't. a straightforward case for vegetarianism is worth writing, but it's not what i have written here." he dryly observes, "'instinct' continues to be the explanation of choice whenever animal behavior implies too much intelligence ... instinct, though, wouldn't go very far in explaining how pigeons use human transportation routes to navigate. pigeons follow highways and take particular exits, likely following many of the same landmarks as the humans driving below." (pg. 64) he laments, "what does organic signify? ... a whole lot less than we give it credit for. for meat, milk, and eggs labeled organic, the usda requires that animals must... have 'access to the outdoors.' the last criterion, sadly, has been rendered almost meaningless---in some cases 'access to the outdoors' can mean nothing more than having the opportunity to look outside through a screened window." (pg. 70) he is (perhaps surprisingly) critical of peta: "peta is sometimes accused of using cynical strategies for attention getting, which has some truth to it... peta is pro-euthanasia: if the choice, for example, is between a dog living its life in a kennel or being euthanized, peta not only opts for the latter, but advocates for it. they do oppose killing, but they oppose suffering more. people at peta love their dogs and cats... but they are not especially motivated by a be-kind-to-dogs-and-cats ethic. they want a revolution. they call their revolution 'animal rights,' but the changes peta has won for farmed animals (their biggest concern) ... are not victories for animal rights so much as for animal welfare..." (pg. 72) he points out, "if you know what to look for, the pathogen problem comes into terrifying focus. for example, the next time a friend has a sudden 'flu'... [ask] was your friend's illness one of those 'twenty-four-hour flus' that come and go quickly... if the answer to this question is yes, your friend... was probably among the 76 million cases of food-borne illness the cdc estimates occur in america each year." (pg. 139) he states, "a barrage of antibiotics, hormones, and other pharaceuticals in the animals' feed will keep most of them alive until slaughter ... drugs are not for curing diseases, but substitutes for destroyed immune systems. farmers do not produce healthy animals." (pg. 188) he admits, however, that "my decision not to eat animals is necessary for me, but it is also limited---and personal... for me to conclude firmly that i will not eat animals does not mean i oppose, or even have mixed feelings about, eating animals in general... to decide for oneself and one's family is not to decide for the nation or the world." (pg. 198-199) this book will be of great interest to those interested in animal rights/welfare; to vegetarians/vegans; and to other progressives.