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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone who eats!
Eating Animals is a unique, intelligent and well-researched text based on 3 years research into the meat industry, with a key focus on animal welfare but some horrifying insights into the public health concerns, as a result of the sole interest in profit. Sometimes this book is hard to read since it describes in detail what goes on behind the scenes of factory-farming and...
Published on 8 Feb. 2012 by AngellocksUK

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little preachy but a thorough investigation
So the big selling point for Eating Animals seems to be that it's not an attempt to convert you to vegetarianism. Instead, it's supposed to be a more unbiased look at factory farming and the meat industry, and how what you choose to eat impacts society and the environment. I was initially quite sceptical about this claim, and Jonathan Safran Foer's vegetarian views shine...
Published on 30 Mar. 2012 by H. Whitehead


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone who eats!, 8 Feb. 2012
By 
AngellocksUK (Greater Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
Eating Animals is a unique, intelligent and well-researched text based on 3 years research into the meat industry, with a key focus on animal welfare but some horrifying insights into the public health concerns, as a result of the sole interest in profit. Sometimes this book is hard to read since it describes in detail what goes on behind the scenes of factory-farming and slaughter, yet it is nevertheless compelling and necessary reading for all human beings who eat meat and those who don't.

What I especially love about Eating Animals though is how Jonathan Safran Foer includes perspectives from all angles - from the factory farmer, to the animal rights activist, to the traditional farmer, to the vegan that builds slaughterhouses. This I think, shows incredible empathy for human beings and for their own beliefs or reasons for doing what they do, and gives the book a special strength.

While Eating Animals concentrates on intensive farming in the US, as Jonathan Safran Foer points out very early on, don't think that the industry is that much different in the UK or Europe if you live here. It isn't. And reviews here that have marked down the book because of its US slant are doing so unfairly - the messages that come from the book are important, and affect all of us, whether you live in the US, UK or any other part of the world.

One of the weaknesses I did find was that Safran Foer only touched upon the dairy and egg industries early on, and by the end, there was little thought left in your mind about them. It is said there is more cruelty in a glass of milk than in a steak, and therefore I think the emphasis not should not just be on eating animals, but on eating animal produce too. However, I still see it as an important and seminal work regardless, hence why I still giving it a full five stars.

You HAVE to read this - not just for the sake of animal welfare, but for the sake of human welfare and survival. This book opened my eyes to how the fat cat corporations behind the meat industry care nothing for animals, nor humans, and we pay them to continue to exploit us.
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129 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Places We Hide From, 18 May 2010
By 
Jane Easton "tofu queen" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Eating Animals (Hardcover)
I think this is an amazing book - it's heartfelt, honest, isn't afraid to enter some uncomfortable places and asks a lot of necessary questions. It also gives voice to those on both sides of the fence, as it were.
As for the criticisms from some folk on this page, I work for a vegetarian campaign group so know that there aren't as many differences between US and UK/European farming methods as some critics would like to think. For example, the sow farrowing crate is still in use in the UK - it causes immense suffering to these highly intelligent and sensitive animals but is allegedly slightly more humane than the US gestation crate - a couple of inches perhaps? (Thankfully it is destined to be phased out after a lot of campaigning). But most animal abuse is not being phased out. There is also a lot of nonsense talked about organic and free-range meat, frankly. Recent and verified undercover footage by the UK's Animal Aid has exposed appalling cruelty to animals - in Soil Association approved slaughterhouses, not only the usual suspects. So much so that there is a call to put CCTV in abbatoirs to try and stop the abuse. If we are honest and go beyond our comfort/self-interest zone, I think many of us know that animals go through hell. RSPCA Freedom Foods, for example is another scam - the abuses within many of their approved 'farms' have to be seen to be believed. If you don't believe me, check Viva!'s undercover footage. Basically, farmers aren't monsters, but they are human and under pressure from supermarkets and the like to deliver cheap meat, eggs, milk and so forth. It's always the animals who suffer. That's the bottom line. It's a brutal business and it all too frequently brutalises those who work in it. Even the more ethical M&S, Waitrose and such cannot be guaranteed. What do people th ink happens to a worker's head when s/he kills or 'processes' animals day after day? Massive brutalisation and desensitisation, that's waht. Frankly, unless you actually sit by an animal while it is being killed, its quick and painless death cannot be guaranteed. It's time to stop kidding ourselves. Our diet contains suffering and death. It also contributes to world starvation, water depletion on a terrifying scale, ditto deforestation, fresh and sea pollution, desertification - and of course, CO2 emissions on an unparalleled level. It also contributes to the massive rise in heart disease, most cancers, diabetes type 2, obesity and all of the delights of the Western diet.
I'm a vegan of 10 years so perhaps it's obvious why I'd give this book 5 stars. However, I was also vegetarian for 15 years, went back to eating meat (for fairly spurious reasons) before finally going vegan. In other words, I understand the places in the human heart that resist confronting the reality of what we eat. I also come from a Northern UK (Scottish and Yorkshire) family - basically, I grew up on lard! - so my changed eating patterns caused all sorts of reactions amongst family and friends. Another vegetarian writer, Carol J Adams, said that without even meaning to, the very presence of a veg*n at the table draws attention to who is on our plate.
I'm now a vegan cook - I teach, write about and cook great vegan food. It's really not about 'giving up' and things have changed amazingly since the 70s and 80s, believe me. Don't be afraid to try to reduce or omit animal products from your diet. You'll feel and look better, and can eat with a clear conscience.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Important Book I Have Ever Read, 10 May 2011
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
I have never submitted a review to amazon. similarly, I have never read a book that has significantly changed me or my outlook. I take ages to read things and often I abandon books if they don't captivate me. I have read countless books on knowledge, philosophy, even self help. Usually, after doing so, I have resolved to change my habits or lifestyle but never followed through for any length of time.

This book is different. I devoured it within days, went vegetarian instantly and continue to think about it often. I am not a fruit loop or an activist. In fact I tend to be quite lazy with my morals. I am strong minded and have always eaten meat. So I am the last person to be `converted.'

Foer's writing is gripping, elegant and beautifully structured. It doesn't preach, undermine or patronise. It is thoroughly researched, balanced and investigative. Journalism at it very best.

I have now purchased 5 more copies of this book to give to my nearest and dearests. Again, a real first. I wish it were taught at school.

If you read one book this lifetime - read this!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly important book, 11 July 2010
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This review is from: Eating Animals (Hardcover)
EATING ANIMALS has to be one of the most important books I have read for a long time. Focusing primarily on animal suffering, Safran Foer's beautiful and often mesmerising prose moves from chickens through pigs and finally on to beef to expose the deceptions and self-deceptions that the modern meat industry is built on. The book is skillfully crafted, both structurally and stylistically (particularly in the first half). At the heart of the book is the simple question "Should I feed meat to my newborn son". By the end of his research into the subject he is a vegetarian and the book is about this journey of discovery.

Despite the book's brilliance there are huge ommisions which puzzle me and which I may relate in part to his own remaining eating choices. The first is his avoidance of any discussion of milk, butter and cheese. There is no discussion of the way in which the dairy industry is the bride of the meat industry. Another weak area of the book is fish. Fish are squeezed into two or three pages. I suggest reading THE END OF THE LINE by Charles Clover, or see the film for more background on this. Finally, because of his emphasis on suffering, there is no mention of the parallels between the techniques and consolidations of the meat industry and those of seed companies like Monsanto. I suggest watching THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO for more on this.

However, these are small quibbles, and for what it's worth I, for one, have already changed my eating habits considerably as a result of reading this book. Any stack of printed pages which can do that is a testament to the power of the pen and if it turns out that we one day look back to 20th century eating habits and animal cruelty practices of our species with the same disgust that we now feel towards the practices of Nazi Germany then this book will have been one of the voices of common sense to help bring about an end to the current animal holocaust.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine life-changer, 23 April 2012
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This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
This is the first Amazon review I've written. Never has a book had so much impact on me. I've eaten enough meat to last a lifetime, and actually spent the past 6 months on an almost completely meat-only dukan diet. I read the book in two sittings, and am now vegan - such is the immediate impact. Completely gut-wrenching to read, makes you ashamed to be human, and yet so well written its impossible to put down.

Like the author, I always had a suspicion something wasn't quite right and wondered where so much food comes from - naively presuming if its on my plate it must have arrived there both legally and ethically. I now realise I delayed giving any detailed thought to the subject because once you give it attention there's only one outcome: guaranteed if you have any sliver of compassion and have arrived at this book, reading it will almost certainly be followed by your abandonment of meat-eating.

I would be amazed if any human could read it and not be changed completely. I was afraid to buy this book as I almost knew the outcome before purchasing, but now feel giving up meat is the least I can do. The second is to encourage others to at least see what's going on too.
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102 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 28 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
When I received an advanced copy of Eating Animals, I wasn't going to read it. After reading an excerpt ran in the New York Times Magazine (called "Against Meat"), I had to check it out. I've never been a vegetarian. I did read Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilemma, though, and it's hard not to question whether one should eat meat after reading him. While Pollan made me more intellectually interested in food issues, Eating Animals shook me.

This book is loaded with incredible facts about animal agriculture, but it is more than anything a deeply personal (and often hilarious) meditation on what it means to consume animal products. Foer doesn't make, in the end, a firm case for vegetarianism, rather he provides a heartfelt and moving account of his own exploration into these issues. He makes it impossible not to care about what you eat without telling you exactly what you should eat.

Whether you enjoyed Foer's previous books, whether you're an omnivore or vegan, whether you've wondered about these issues in the past or never gave it a second thought, Eating Animals is a must read. You might be enraged or inspired, but you won't be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading, 14 May 2011
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
I've been a vegetarian and involved in animal welfare for many years and so have read quite a few of books on the subject of eating animals. None, however, have been as original as this one, nor have they been as gripping. This book isn't so much pro-vegetarian as it is anti-factory farming. It's written in an often-humorous style that seems a lot less biased than many other books on the subject. It discusses not only the facts and figures and the horrific reality of factory farming but also poses some interesting questions on the philosophy of eating animals. It's frequently shocking and disgusting but also moving and gripping - I couldn't put this book down. I passionately believe that this book should be compulsory reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food is Power... Are You In Control Of Yours?, 2 May 2011
By 
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
No matter who you are, you need to eat and eat you do, several times a day. It's something you can't avoid doing, but you as a consumer are the most powerful ally or enemy of the factory farming industry. Which one you are is entirely your choice. This book gives you the knowledge you need to make that choice.

I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years but since reading this book my conviction in vegetarianism was renewed and I've become a vegan. I no longer want to support the meat industry in any way. Buying meat and animal products is giving financial support to the industry and I fully withdraw my support.

The ubiquitous protests for meat eating are untroubled by the bigger picture. The ones I hear most are addressed in this excellent book:

'But it tastes good'

- if we want to do something, that does not confer the right to do it at the expense of all else. When else is it okay to disregard morality in favour of what you think might feel or taste good. Would you see someone attractive and say 'well why can't I rape them?', 'I didn't like the look of that person, so I punched them.' or 'I wanted that laptop so I stole it.'

and 'that's what animals are meant for, what would we do with them otherwise'.

- That's what the slave traders used to say. Abuse of other people or animals is not what they are 'meant for'.
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77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down! Such a well written and thought provoking book., 4 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Eating Animals (Paperback)
This book isn't your typical book about why we shouldn't eat animals, it is filled with colourful characters from a vegetarian cattle rancher, to a turkey farmer, to a vegan helping to build a slaughterhouse. It is a book that addresses the reality that what we eat affects us and ultimately shapes our world. Foer's thoughts are so perfectly articulated and to me, his insights are truly original and devastatingly emotive.

I literally could not put it down and I would sincerely recommend it to any and every one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting American angle on meat-eating, 14 Dec. 2010
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Eating Animals (Hardcover)
The 33-year-old American author of two well-regarded novels, Foer is also the Jewish father of a young child and a relatively recent convert to vegetarianism. 'Eating Animals' is an even-handed and unhysterical exploration from an American perspective of the dilemma of the person who wishes to continue to eat meat. Can a case still be made for feeding meat to a child?

Although he includes some historical, cultural and familial perspective on human carnivory, Foer devotes most of his attention to an examination of the different styles of animal husbandry in the modern US in an attempt to decide whether the claims made for alternative 'humane' rearing and slaughtering techniques used in the production of a - very small - fraction of American meat production can withstand close scrutiny. He allows the proponents and opponents to make their case in their own words. His conclusion is that however well-intentioned their proponents may be, the claims made for these methods are either factually incorrect or philosophically bogus. He believes, nonetheless, that it is morally consistent with a vegetarian's concern for animal welfare to push for the wider adoption of these more humane techniques as an interim measure, in a world in which there is no longer a viable scientific justification for the human carnivore, but in which many will continue to eat meat for the foreseeable future.

I have a few small criticisms. One is that the book is rather belated: there are already a great number of books available that give an unvarnished view of the realities of factory meat production, and the reader who has read any one of these may feel that there is little new here.

Again, the book is strongly orientated towards an American readership. The US is far behind much of the developed world in its attitudes towards food animals; British readers may feel that Foer's case has already been made, and to some extent acted upon here. Nonetheless, the author does acknowledge the issue in a very brief preface to the UK edition, and points out that the UK is far from a paradise for food animals.

Foer writes well, and the book reads quickly (this edition includes 267 pages of main text, plus notes and index). Perhaps best for the complete newcomer to the subject: an especially pointed read for the meat-eater who is fending off vegetarianism with the idea of converting to 'humanely reared' meat.
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Eating Animals
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (Paperback - 27 Jan. 2011)
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