- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 9 Feb. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004N0KBPW
Eating Animals Audio Download – Unabridged
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Foer explains, “Since the rise of science itself, those who produce meat have made sure that they are among those who influence how nutritional data will be presented to the likes of you and me.” He shows the alarming prevalence of antibiotics in livestock, who are in cahoots with big pharma and have established commercial interests there too. He doesn’t just get a few shallow sound bites from a handful of radicals and present a one sided agenda, he has clearly has taken the time to consider many angles, speaking to people on all sides of the issues here (when they agreed to talk to him at least). He lets us see the human side of the people involved in making money and their living from farming, giving time to slaughterhouse workers, a vegetarian rancher and other workers. One person who stuck out, was a poultry farmer by the name of Frank Reese. His account was particularly fascinating, showing that there is room for empathy and compassion when dealing with live animals on a large, industrial scale.
Commercial chickens are divided into broilers and layers. Chickens once had a life expectancy of fifteen to twenty years, but the modern broiler is typically killed at around six weeks. He talks about the various euphemisms and corruptions of language that produce such deliberately misleading words to the public, like Bycatch. For instance, “The average shrimp trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures overboard, dead or dying, a bycatch. (Endangered species amount to much of this bycatch.)Shrimp account for only 2 percent of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling account for 33 percent of global bycatch.” Also “One study found that roughly 4.5 million sea animals are killed as bycatch in longline fishing every year.” His thoughts on free range are as follows, “One can reliably assume that most “free range” (or cage free) laying hens are debeaked, drugged and cruelly slaughtered once “spent.” I could keep a flock of hens under my sink and call them free range.”
Elsewhere he has a pop at some of the bigger fast food outlets, “KFC insists it is “committed to the well being and humane treatment of chickens.” How trustworthy are these words? At a slaughterhouse in West Virginia that supplies KFC, workers were documented tearing the heads off live birds, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray painting their faces, and violently stomping on them. These acts were not a “bad apple,” but a “Supplier of the Year.” Imagine what happens at the bad apples when no one is looking.” Though that is nothing compared to the frankly unbelievable (only in America) antics of Smithfield whose conduct will blow your mind.
He talks about PETA discussing its many good and bad points, letting a representative speak for them which is revealing. He explores the various major zoonoses that have sprung up within the last century as a result of birds, not least the Spanish Flu which killed an estimated amount between 50-100 million people.
This book maybe won’t necessarily have everyone dropping their hamburgers and turning vegan overnight, but what it does do is raise awareness of a hugely important and increasingly crucial issue. Foer has compiled an eloquent and reasoned collection of confronting facts, stats and opinions that shame many sectors of the food industry. It brings out some of the harrowing and horrifying facts that agribusiness has a vested interest in keeping from you, and in that sense it will at least succeed in making you think twice about what you eat, why you eat it and how often you want to eat it and are you really happy having your kids eating such food. As he says, “Needless to say, jamming deformed, drugged, overstressed birds together in a filthy, waste coated room is not very healthy. Beyond deformities, eye damage, blindness, bacterial infections of bones, slipped vertebrae, paralysis, internal bleeding, anaemia, slipped tendons, twisted lower legs and necks, respiratory diseases and weakened immune systems are frequent and long standing problems on factory farms.”
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of the animals who share this planet with us to someone who became an advocate