Eating Animals

This past weeked the Louisville Vegetarian Club met to discuss a book we are reading: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Many refer to this book as a “case for vegetarianism” but I’ve also heard some criticize it saying that while it does give good information, it doesn’t go far enough in making that case.

Since I am still new to the whole animal abuse side of vegetarianism/veganism, I thought it was a good introduction into some harsh realities that I wasn’t aware of prior to reading the book.

I like how Foer’s inspiration for writing this book was that he was about to become a father, therefore responsible for what another human eats. That thought has crossed my mind quite a few times in recent months, as I do plan to have children someday.

We know more about food today — what it is and where it comes from — than our parents did when we were children. I’m also glad that I turned my life around and got healthy before I had children and I have enough knowledge now to get them started off on the right foot, nutritionally.

I haven’t finished this book yet, so this isn’t a review. I just wanted to share that while my intentions for going vegan were first motivated by health, I continue to read and educate myself on the other issues as well. I find that I am constantly amazed and shocked at what I am learning about the way animals are used and treated in this country.

And once I know things like this, it’s impossible to turn those images off. And there is no way I could ever go back to eating them.

As a group, we came up with the following questions/discussion topics (we=Americans):

  • Are our desires more important than those of the animals we are eating?
  • Are we being selfish?
  • Do we eat animals because we feel superior?
  • In closing: As long as we keep eating meat, we are advocating factory farming.

The superiority thing really interested me because I am a Christian and in church you always hear about how we as humans are to have “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

Opinions will vary, but when I hear the word “dominion” I think of power. Authority. Ownership. Some translations will say “reign over” or “be responsible for.” In this same chapter God also provided seeds, plants and fruit trees for food. Green plants for the animals too.

Personally, I believe God entrusted us to take care of the Earth and the animals that live here with us. Take care of them. I do NOT believe this means we are to abuse this responsibility.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

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About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on May 27, 2010, in books, vegetarianism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Wow, you’re bringing up some controversial topics here.

    I am in that same boat with regards to thinking about the food I will be feeding my child. My wife is expecting our first (I’ll probably announce it on my blog tonight). :-) However; I’m not in the meat-is-bad group. Don’t get me wrong, I DO NOT FAULT YOU IN ANY WAY. I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.

    Personally, I think we are built to eat some meat (in a responsible manner). There are physiological traits, such as the formation of our teeth, that suggest we were “designed” to be omnivores.

    Anyway, I do agree with you though about the treatment of animals in today’s society. I think that a lot of companies have moved away from that “responsible manner”, and use processes that are solely driven by cost efficiency (which tends to be very bad for the animals).

    I have gotten so that I pretty much refuse to eat in most fast food establishments, and eat very little meat in my daily diet. One thing I am doing to bypass those situations of poor treatment is to buy a portion of a cow being raised by a family friend. I know that this cow is grass-fed, free to roam, and given about the best standard of living as one could expect (except for the cows in India I guess). So, this way I know the animal was treated well, and I am not supporting the “meat factories”.

    • Seth, comments like yours are exactly the ones I want to see! I love that you CARE about where your food is coming from and how the animals are treated. That is remarkable. And I value and respect your opinions as well.

      Congrats on the baby! Your future child is definitely lucky to have you :)

  2. I haven’t read the book, but I read a couple of pages the other day when I was at the bookstore. It looked like a very thought provoking book. I don’t believe eating meat is bad, but I choose not to eat meat except seafood or unless I know where the meat comes from. I won’t shun meat, but my issue is with America’s factory farming. If animals were killed humanely and raised how nature intended, I would still be eating meat. For example, there was a farmer in the movie Food Inc. I would eat meat from him, because he believes in TRUE farming practices. Hopefully, people become more aware and start buying from more companies and farmers that provide a wholesome, high quality product.

  3. I have not read this book but I do agree that as long as people continue to eat meat they are advocating factory farming. I don’t eat meat for ethical reasons but I might start again if animals weren’t raised in such appalling conditions.

    Great post…I look forward to reading this book now!

  4. I have not read this book but animal cruelty is one of the main reasons that I gave up eating meat so I know this book would prob make me VERY emotional so I am not sure that I would want to read it….let me know how graphic it is.

  5. oh and I love the new lay out! muy lindo =)

  6. I have not read this book but my mantra is:

    “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals, I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.” ha!

    I found your blog through workoutmommy’s blog hop! I’d love for you to come on over
    and cheer me on as I loose 100 lbs!

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