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on September 13, 2017
This book is a must for anyone curious about the meat/dairy industry and all the things that go on in these industries that they try to keep under wraps.

Jonathan Safran Foer does a wonderful job of remaining objective throughout the book; he doesn’t try to persuade anyone to do anything, but rather simply shares the facts he finds out.

I was required to read this book for a class I took in college, but I’m glad I read it – I’m a vegetarian and this book was part of the reason why I chose to become one.

Even if you’re convinced you’ll never give up meat or dairy, this book is still an important read to shed light on the goings-on of the meat and dairy industries. I would highly recommend it.
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on November 10, 2009
This book was a catalyst where I wasn't looking for one. After the first 35 pages a light bulb started lighting up...and I feared my life was about to change. I've never written a book review, but after reading what Jonathon learned in his 3 + years of researching factory farming, I had to tell others to read it. He provides serious, horrific and real information. I never knew about factory farming until I read his book and googled 'factory farming' on the web. It was all over from there. I started watching those videos on what we do to animals-the ones we don't want to see-and I could not stomach another bite of an animal again. I loved meat, ate it easily 3xday for all of my life, grew up near those green pastures in northern California where cows graze all day. Wow. Was I disconnected and fooled...

What I felt, was that he did not preach about not eating animals. He presented information that I could personally relate to and grasp. For me, Jonathon felt like a messenger...where many have failed to bring light to what humans are systematically doing to animals every moment of every day. He provided very important information about 99% of the animals I used to buy and eat for my family and friends. I had no idea that the US alone consumes 10 billion animals PER YEAR. I finally woke up. One chicken has 2 wings(that they never use)--how many chicken wings come in a basket at a restaurant-6? 12? 24? I used to throw meat away after getting full. I was throwing away a life-a wasted one who suffered in life and in death. What frightened me more about this book is why is an author bringing this info to me? Where are the ongoing news specials on this?

Jonathon's personal tone, statistical/historical data, research team, true accounts from the field, letters, etc., left me no choice than to agree with him. Of course, he is not a farm owner, hasn't worked on a farm, and can't come from a place of truly understanding 'farming'. And he doesn't shun farming, he actually helped me realize that the farming I thought ALL animals came from--humane ones--are actually a miniscule percentage of all farms. His writing is heartwarming, but gut-wrenching. His occasional wit about the insanity of factory farming made me laugh quietly, but kept me awake at night thinking & fretting.

Eating Animals forced me to realize the terrifying component of being lied to by these factory farms and the megacorporations that support them. I used to pay extra for organic milk & cage free eggs because I believed in Horizon Farms. I thought I was making a better choice for the animals. Ultimately, the author woke me up from a deep, deep sleep. As he eloquently presents about turkeys, how can we celebrate 'thanks' and 'family' or whatever tradition you have on Thanksgiving while the main course never saw the sun, felt the earth, a breath of fresh air, had his beak seared off with a hot blade and no pain killers, lived on top of thousands of other turkey's and their excrement, thrown into trucks for transport hundreds of miles without food or water, and never had one true moment of 'love.' If having a better understanding of what love means to you, read this book.
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on September 23, 2016
A simply written, yet perfectly crafted book (I have never highlighted as many powerful and evocative sentences in a single book before!). It makes a compelling argument both for and against. And, for once, tackles the issue holistically.
It is the first thing that has compelled me to take a firm stance within my own framework. And it has encouraged me to be vocal with others.
This book should be compulsory reading for everyone who purchases food. Meaning, yes, just about everybody!
Thank you Jonathan Safran Foer for another masterpiece. From someone who doesn't read non-fiction :)
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on February 19, 2017
Caution to the faint-hearted: this book is graphic because it is honest and real. If you prefer to remain ignorant (sarcasm), you may want to avoid it. Besides airing what takes place behind your ground beef, the author does a great job at remaining as unbiased as possible. Offering a lot of accounts from different individuals who work and live in the middle of factory farming, ranging from executives to farmers. I felt so passionate about family owned and operated farm mentioned in the reading, I actually reached out to thank them. This book really pulls at your heart strings with hard to stomach facts. In my opinion, it's disturbing that the majority of people are completely unaware of the contents of this book.
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on January 26, 2015
I’m going to keep my review for this book short and sweet because I do not have a whole lot to say about this that others have not already said. I feel this book is a four star book because it does give the reader an inside glimpse into the meat industry from the perspective of the most commonly eaten animals in America--Chickens, Pigs, and Cows. This work also comes with the proper citations that helps to defend the authors argument. So why did I give this book a four out of five star review instead of the full stars? Personally, I feel with a topic as heavy as animal rights/abuse, there will already be enough hard truths to swallow and emotions poured on to the reader, so I do not think the background family information was necessary, or any of the extra mood killing stories about starvation and such. I know these pieces were written to help the author illustrate his points, but to me I just felt like this additional history was unnecessary. I also did not like the fact that with a convincing argument like the author has, that he leaves out what to do when one decides to go vegan/vegetarian. He gives you just enough information to make a decision, but not enough to follow through with a new diet, I personally just feel there should be some info in the back of the book that informs the reader where to go next. But these two issues I have brought up are the only reason this book lost a star, other than these issues, the book is solid. If you are already an animal rights activist though, you probably won’t learn a whole lot here.
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on September 20, 2017
At the end of the book, Jonathan Safran Foer brings us the global table. This parable tells a sobering story. I doubt Mr. Foer anticipated the type of reaction I had but I'm still sobbing. This book should be required reading. Mr. Foer thoroughly researched the subject of factory farming and gives the reader perspectives of both animal activists and corporate farmers. The totality of consequences that come from factory farming are horrid. The temporary pleasure we may attain from consuming animal flesh pales in comparison to the devastating cruelty, unspeakable violence, and ecological ruin that arrives on our dinner plate.
The time for change came long ago. After reading this book, no one can claim ignorance. Information is sometimes a scary thing. It compels action.
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on October 4, 2017
This definitely pushed me over to the vegan side of the fence, after being on the fence for so long. Foer doesn't argue against eating meat entirely, he argues against eating "farmed" meat. Even if you support eating meat, this is a terrific book, as you should know the conditions under which the creatures whose flesh you consume live.
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on August 18, 2015
As a vegan concerned about the environmental impact and ethics of meat production, I was already aware of most of the practices described in this book before I picked it up. So for me the most interesting part is Foer's reaction to this information, the internal struggle in his head, and the conclusions he drew from it all.

The book has quite a lot to offer: a good overview of the different ways meat is produced in the US, and numerous interviews with people from all sides of the story - from a factory farm operator, defending the necessity of such methods, up to a PETA member making a case for veganism. Such variety of views, together with the wide range of aspects of meat production that Foer tried to cover, make the subject difficult to handle from the point of view of book structure. Foer does this pretty well overall, but I'm still not a fan of the topic organization. Some chapters were better than others, but there were a bit too many cases of jumping around for my liking. I found myself wondering what's the main message of the book. Early on, Foer points out that this book isn't here to argue for vegetarianism. And that's true. The main message is a case against factory farming. However, while I completely agree with its conclusion, it's not a particularly strong case. In the end, for me, the vegan in me is happy with all the opposition to the idea of factory farming, but the scientist in me is rather unhappy about the way the argument is structured...

Foer's argument oscillates between an evidence-based evaluation of the environmental impact and a moral argument against raising animals who can't reproduce and whose bones can't support them. He describes the environmental damage done by these factory farms, and the very high concentration of animals kept there. To me, it would make sense to then assess the environmental impact per weight of the meat produced, which could then be compared against "traditional" animal farms, while somehow trying to account for the externalities such as the sharp increase in incidence of drug-resistant strains of various diseases, and the simpler effects on the neighborhood of these farms (such as strong smells). But that's not what Foer does. Instead, he switches completely to an ethical case, talking about how wrong it feels to do all these things to animals and that they deserve our respect. Yet he still isn't opposed to the idea of eating meat, which makes the ethical argument a bit shaky. So we have a responsibility to treat these animals relatively well, except that we still get to kill them at a young age? Where do we draw the line? Foer for example feels very bad at what is done in the factory farms, but finds killing a teen (in human age terms) cow for steak acceptable. I think that the choice to draw the line at this particular point is non-obvious, and would require a lot more justification and discussion, which alas cannot be found in this book. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing his argument, but rather suggesting that it needs work to be developed.

I was disappointed that the book failed to discuss the difference between vegetarians and vegans, and the importance of those differences. Surely exploitation of animals in factory farms is just as bad when it isn't the meat that's the final product. But given that Foer is a vegetarian and not a vegan, I'm guessing this is a part of his journey that's still ahead of him personally.

I very much enjoyed the topic of the social role of sharing meals, and how this is affected when one stops eating meat. This is something I've been though, so I was curious to find out more. Unfortunately, this topic is also not sufficiently developed, in the end being not much more than a few ideas the author had when briefly contemplating some family relationships. I must say I wish he (or anyone else, really) wrote a book about this topic.

Overall, this book is a good conversation starter, a good choice for a first book on this topic, a fairly-detailed first look into the world of animal agriculture. If you haven't spent much time thinking about where your meat comes from, this is a very good place to start. If this is a topic that you've been regularly researching and are relatively knowledgeable about, then I'd say move on, there isn't much to see her. Unless you want to buy it for your omnivorous friends, of course :-)
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on November 21, 2014
I regret being able to give no more than five stars to this book. Nearly at the end of my most vulnerable years, I've become more conscious of the choices I have and will have to make as a human being, especially when it comes to food. The reason why I wanted to read this book in the first place was to know whether my decision to become a vegetarian was right, and whether my last year struggling under social pressure at any dining table was worth it.

The book doesn't deserve a compliment as a full summary of arguments pro vegetarianism, but as an eye-opener. Jonathan Safran Foer begins with his own story and that of his family, then leads us to facts about the meat industry that are less personal, but that would affect any of us universally and individually. He tells the story that he needs to tell, and leaves us the right to make our decision, a decision that will influence the way we eat and the way the industry will evolve.

The book doesn't offend any omnivore and doesn't speak solely in favor of vegetarians either, which is the reason why I would recommend everyone to read it. You may believe in what has been written, like I do, or you can choose to ignore it. It never hurts or is never a waste of time hearing someone else's opinions or learning new insights we've never known before.

At a certain point, as all these facts about factory farming were gradually revealed in the book, I felt obliged to remind myself that I wasn't reading a thriller or a fantasy fiction at all. No vikings were fighting each other in the book; no extremely intelligent serial murder was committing an international crime; there was only this strange relationship between us and this-silent-thing-on-our-plate-that-we-call-meat being present. It's a thriller that is real and that happens daily thanks to our ignorance, and most of all: for which we are all responsible.

I don't want to recommend this book as a vegetarian, but as someone who wants to know more about the functionality of the world's meat industry, and especially as a reader. Foer's choices of words and his writing style, including the way he quotes others, really fascinate me. It was really impossible for me to put the book down once I had started.

(And as a student Graphic Design, I would like to mention how beautifully John Gray has designed the cover of the book, which is a good reason to have it on the shelf.)
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on March 5, 2018
I’ve owned “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer for years, but it’s remained on my shelf, staring down on me with judgement like Big Brother’s mustached poster. The fear was I’d never be able to eat meat again once I read it, and the fear may be justified—I haven’t had meat since starting it. The book is not a vegetarian diatribe against carnivores, and I have no problem with humans eating animals. The idea of a cow putzing around a pasture for a few years and dying instantly from a bolt to the brain never thrilled me, but it seemed no crueler than the deaths nature delivers. Only problem is, that’s fiction. I guess I was naive, but I didn’t realize 99% of all meat is now from factory farms, which are so disgusting they don’t even let journalists inside. Maybe part of getting older is realizing that it’s impossible to live a life without causing others to suffer.
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