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on 19 August 2015
Probably one of the most important books I've ever read. It was shocking and revealing, but most of all I liked the different perspectives given. Of course it's in advocacy of vegetarianism, but it didn't feel like I was being pushed towards it. I've been trying to be veggie for a while now but after reading this, I simply can't eat meat or fish anymore. It's a fantastic read that I think everyone should try, if anything to understand where their meat comes from and the implications of it. Highly recommended.
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on 19 October 2013
All the other good reviews are correct.

This book cemented my decision to become a vegetarian. It should be read by everyone, not just animal lovers, as it creates great scope for debate.

i think it should be compulsory reading in schools, not to necessarily "convert" everyone but more to allow people to see what's really going on and to then decide for themselves if they want to accept the status quo and majority consensus.

4 stars and not 5 as it is a bit long winded/ repetitive in places.
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on 26 August 2014
Life changing, literally. Not that it has a blatant agenda, unless that agenda is merely enlightenment. So well written it takes you on the author's personal quest to discover his own feelings on eating animals from some interesting angles. The conclusion he reaches in the end may be expected but the journey to get there is brutally honest. Only 4 stars as its objectivity takes a few knocks toward the end by skirting over veganism and dairy products. Even so, extremely glad I read this book and I have reassessed my own eating habits and have an even greater need now to know the origin of the food I eat. No I have not turned vegetarian but what I am comfortable eating has drastically changed. Everyone should read this book to bring themselves back to reality in what has become taboo to debate in polite society these days - the meat industry.
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on 11 July 2010
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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on 18 May 2010
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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on 18 July 2013
This book was recommended to me by several people...all of whom became and have remained happy healthy veggies as a result...Me too! Vegan in fact and have never felt healthier! A wonderful, heartfelt and soul-searched book that is in parts humorous and in parts harrowing, but never preachy, in theory it lets you make up your own mind, but in fact, there is only one way to go after reading it....I thought I knew about intensive farming, but I didn't.
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on 28 January 2010
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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on 2 May 2011
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 December 2010
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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on 10 May 2011
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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