I can't count the post-its I put in this book. And the quotes I underlined. And the !! I put everywhere. This book depicts the reality of factory farms and the meat we find in our supermarkets (at least in the USA, I know that it is not the same in Europe because industries are a bit smaller, but still, it's not better).
I found the book really interesting. I've been a vegetarian for more than 8 years now and I try to eat vegan as much as I possibly can which is not always easy in the society. So, I have been doing research about animals rights and how they are treated in the industry for a long time. However, there are a lot of things I did not know. I knew only about the cruelty of it, I did not know about animals not being animals anymore. They are fed with so many antibiotics and they are genetically modified so that they can't even reproduce themselves. I was utterly shocked about facts like that. I mean, even if some people say they "don't care about animals because meat is good", you really want to eat this shit? Full of antibiotics and other disgusting stuff? I just cannot understand it. I know, people will say that it is the same with vegetables, they are full of disgusting chemical stuff, but at least, they do treat animals in a utterly disgusting way (even if intensive farming is also bad for insects and small animals, I know that.)
What was really interesting in the book is that Jonathan Safran Foer tries to expose many people's point of views: vegan, farmers, slaughterhouses employees, animals activists... The author is not here to tell you what to do, he is trying to make you understand what the factory farms really are and to make you ask yourself "do I really NEED to eat that meat?".
For me, even the best farmes, like Frank Reese who is one of the last farmers who can call his turkeys "heritage" and treats his animals in the best possible way, are not the solution. They still slaughter animals even if we do not need it. Like the author said, being vegetarian is not possible for everybody. But we have the chance to make a choice in the Western world. We have all kind of food and protein available to us, we don't need to eat meat. Especially not meat from the industry, which is not good for you at all. We don't even know what threat they may pose to our health because they are too recent to tell. But we can tell it's not good. So why keeping up with it?
There are no good solutions. I'm not here to tell you to stop eating animals. Not everybody would give up on meat and that's understandable. Not in this lifetime anyway. I know that with today's conditions it is impossible for everybody to have a vegan diet. The problem will still be the same, too many people who eat too much. So it means we'll find methods to try to grow food as much as possible with the least money possible (which is already the case). Which means intensive farming. At least, it will not hurt that many animals. Maybe one day, in a galaxy far far away, people will say "can you imagine our ancestors used to eat animals. Disgusting". But it's not going to happen anytime soon. Still, we should change some habits we have. To reduce the hunger in the world. To free animals from horrible deaths (and lives). To help the environment. I know, it sounds idealist. But I'm convinced that every bit helps. Next time you'll buy meat in a supermarket, ask yourself if it is really necessary.
Being a vegetarian, many people ask me why I choose this lifestyle. I try to answer as truly as I can without sounding moralizing. Which is really difficult because people are on the defensive. They don't want to question their habits and to give up their little comforts (I mean eating meat). But I know that I convinced some people to give up on meat or to eat less of it and I'm really happy about that. I don't think I'm on a mission to change the world, but when I see people in my entourage changing their habits in the best way possible, I'm really proud and I feel like I've done something good.
I have many many things to say about this book. But what I really want to tell you is : Read it. Seriously, it may change your life. I'm not saying it will make you vegetarian or even vegan. But it will change your view on certain things. At least, I hope so.