Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer ★★★★½

thumbnail_fullsizerender-21Eating Animals is a non-fiction account of what meat is, where it comes from, how it is produced, and what the economic, social and environmental effects of producing and eating meat are. Jonathan Safran Foer started researching animal agriculture for personal reasons; he and his family ate meat, and he wanted to know what this actually involved. After three years of intense and shockingly revealing research, he wrote this book. Although the research in this book was undertaken in America, the UK edition is prefaced explaining that the techniques and outcomes of animal agriculture described are often identical in the UK, and the issues raised in the book are still highly relevant to UK readers. I would recommend this book to anyone; it was highly informative and moving.

The information in this book was enlightening, and disturbing. I learned a lot about animal agriculture from reading this book; information that I think everyone should be aware of, whether American or British, meat-eaters, vegetarians or vegans. I was genuinely shocked as I read, and horrified often. I appreciated that the book explored many aspects and consequences of eating meat; not just the issue of animal slaughter, but everything else that it encompasses, specifically in the world that we live in now. My knowledge on this particular subject area has been greatly improved.

This book is a mix of science and storytelling. The book comprises of facts and figures, accounts of visits to family farms and factory farms, personal family stories, emails and letters, and the history of animal agriculture. We are presented with many different sides throughout, and hear the views of both food reform activists and factory farmers, and people who would not identify as either. I enjoyed all of these different parts, and I felt it helped paint a full picture of the full process of eating meat. I did not feel the book was a pushy advocate of vegetarianism, rather factual information that was well presented, which I appreciated.

A lot of research was condensed into this book, technical vocabulary was used, and a lot of facts and figures were presented. Nevertheless, the writing in this book was highly accessible and clear, and I found it very easy to follow and understand. Not only was this book informative, it was entertaining. Jonathan Safran Foer has a blunt, dry sense of humour that comes through in the book, which I enjoyed. I was honestly as gripped reading this book as I am when I am reading a good fiction novel – something I found quite surprising.

This book was extremely powerful, and I would highly recommend it. Jonathan Safran Foer has a frank but eloquent way of presenting information on a subject that really matters, and should certainly be discussed more.

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