Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 5/10
Check more book notes.
Eating animals is a deep topic worth thinking about. It affects our health, our relationships, our culture, our values, the animals, the environment... We avoid it because we don't want to face some uncomfortable facts.
Dogs are still eaten to overcome bad luck in Philippines; as medicine in China and Korea; to enhance libido in Nigeria; and in numerous places, on every continent, because they taste good. In America, millions of dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters become the food for our food.
Chickens once had a life expectancy of fifteen to twenty years, but the modern broiler is typically killed at around six weeks.
While killing tuna, other 145 species are regularly killed gratuitously (including manta rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles, sea horses, whales…)
Pigs have a language of sorts, will come when called (to humans or one another), will play with toys (and have favorites), and go to the aid of other pigs in distress. Fish build complex nests, form monogamous relationships, hunt cooperatively with other species, and use tools. They recognise one another as individuals (and keep track of who is to be trusted and who is not). They make decisions individually, monitor social prestige and vie for better positions.
Factory farmers know their business model depends on consumers not being able to see (or hear about) what they do. They calculate how close to death they can keep the animals without killing them. That’s the business model. How quickly can they be made to grow, how tightly can they be packed, how much or little can eat, how sick can they get without dying.
Why is taste exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses?
Domestication took place when a handful of specifically opportunistic species discovered, through Darwinian trial and error, that they were more likely to survive and prosper in an alliance with humans than on their own. It wasn’t a regime humans somehow imposed on them. The animals, in effect, want us to farm them.
Not a single turkey you can buy in a supermarket could walk normally, much less jump or fly. They can’t even have sex. Not the antibiotic-free, or organic, or free-range, or anything. They are product of artificial insemination. These animals literally can’t reproduce naturally. What could be sustainable about that?
What the industry figured out - and this was the real revolution- is that you don’t need healthy animals to make a profit. Sick animals are more profitable.
Girls are going through puberty much earlier, and kids are allergic to just about everything, and asthma is out of control. Everyone knows it’s our food. We’re messing with the genes of these animals and then feeding them growth hormones and all kinds of drugs that we really don’t know enough about. And then we’re eating them.
People care about animals. They just don’t want to know or to pay. It’s wrong and people know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced.
People only see the killing, but the animal (chicken) is living six weeks in pain.
Americans eat the equivalent of 21,000 entire animals in a lifetime.
The source of the industry’s immense power is not obscure. We give it to them.