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eating animals, or not

Posted Mar 07 2010 9:26pm

think you know how the bacon and eggs get to your breakfast plate, or how the chicken gets to your pot? well, you’re probably wrong. jonathan safran foer in Eating Animals explains – without sensationalizing – the brutality of the industrial meat industry. if you enjoy a burger or a steak, you might not after reading this book.

when safran foer became a father, and had to make dietary choices on his child’s behalf, he looked more closely at the question of whether to eat meat or not – and discovered some pretty unsettling facts. concerning chicken, the “broilers,” or non-egg producing chickens, tend to spend their (thankfully) brief lives confined to cages that allow them close to a square foot of living space. while broilers used to have a life expectancy of 15-20 years; they are now killed usually around six weeks. their daily growth rate, through engineering and the force feeding of hormones, has increased roughly 400% times. and what, you might ask, happens to male offspring of the “layers?” since they serve no function on the “farm,” they are destroyed, nearly 250 million a year – tossed into plastic bins to be trampled and suffocated slowly, or sent fully conscious into what amounts to a wood chipper for chickens. in order for chickens to be considered “free-range,” they have to be given “access to the outdoors.” imagine a shed containing 30,000 chickens with a small door at one end that opens to a 5×5 dirt patch, the door being closed all but occasionally. safran foer writes that he could keep a flock of chickens under his kitchen sink and call them free-range.

i won’t list any more details. i have always been an on-the-fence-vegetarian, but after reading this book, which goes at the question mostly from a moral angle (though he does discuss the ecological disaster the factory farm is), it is impossible for me to support an industry that routinely and as a matter of common practice brutalizes the animals – billions of them every year – that become our food. this is a don’t-get-me-started topic, so i will leave it there, and leave it up to you to either find out or not. but this was a life-changer for me.Share this Post

         

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