Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer: Some of My Favorite Reviews

I posted my review of Eating Animals on the examiner site yesterday. I’m so grateful for what I consider to be a brilliant and important book. (And let me just say, as a complete aside, that it also has what is one of my all-time favorite covers!)

Jonathan Safran Foer has a unique talent for educating people about the horrors of factory farming through an engaging storytelling approach. No one can deny the impact that this book is having on readers. It’s likely to reach many more mainstream consumers than any other book so far on this subject, with the exception of the much more tepid Omnivore’s Dilemma.

I’ve been reading lots of reviews and discussion about the book and have compiled a few favorites. Eating Animals is not a perfect book by any means. And there are definitely some things that Foer doesn’t “get.” And yet, if every person in the country read this book, I think it would begin to change attitudes not just toward factory farming, but toward animals as well. And we need as many vehicles for changing attitudes as we can get.

This is my review of Eating Animals on examiner.com.

And here are some other reviews that I like a lot.

Erika Ritter, reviewing the book for The Globe and Mail says “Jonathan Foer’s book does more to afflict the comfortable than it does to hamper the struggle to bring non-humans within the purview of ethical consideration. Ultimately, the readership of The New Yorker, The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, along with the fans of Michael Pollan and humane slaughterer Temple Grandin, are going to have to reckon with the vast unease generated by Eating Animals.”

In the Huffington Post, Rabbi David Wolpe says “I hope this book falls with an explosive charge on the somnolent consciences of meat-eating Americans. We know something of the agony, waste, disease and unhealthiness behind the gleaming counters. Perhaps Eating Animals will persuade us to stop pretending to be asleep.”

On vegan.com, Erik Marcus wrote: Not only is Foer’s writing first-rate, the research that went into this book was a massive undertaking. I write on this subject daily, and still learned things on every page.

Finally, I liked this review by Geoff Nicholson in the San Francisco Chronicle. He says that Eating Animals is “ultimately a work of moral philosophy. Having made us long for humane farming methods, he then concludes that ethically there’s no such thing.”

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4 Responses to Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer: Some of My Favorite Reviews

  1. Eating Consciously November 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Funny that someone who is so against "eating animals" isn't even a vegan. If he's not advocating veganism, then what solution is he offering people to solve the problem?

    If people aren't being asked to go vegan, then how are they really going to stop "eating animals?" It's extremely perplexing to say the least.

    I guess we will just continue with these "incremental changes", that in my opinion, promote the consumption of even more animals because people feel better about doing it.

  2. Ginny Messina November 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    Ed, for the life of me, I can't imagine how anyone could read this book and come away feeling better about eating more animal foods and actually increase their intake of animal products. I'd love to hear some specifics about what you see in the book that would have that effect.

    And I know lots of people who are against "eating animals" and are not yet vegan. I don't get this idea that, if someone isn't 100 percent perfect in their choices and their message, then we should somehow dismiss all of the good things that they are doing. This book is raising consciousness about factory farming and it will force people to look at their own habits and reduce intake of animal foods. I'm not sure why you think that's such a bad thing.

    Factory farming is going to be a thing of the past, and it's going to happen sooner rather than later because of books like this. That's not the whole solution–I know that. But it's a pretty big step, and it's not going to happen if we insist on some pedestrian one-track approach to converting 6 billion people on earth to veganism while billions upon billions upon billions of animals spend every minute of their lives in hell.

  3. Eating Consciously November 17, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Ginny,

    I get what you are saying and I'm not disagreeing that it's a good step in the right direction, BUT I think it's important that we have people who continue to question these kinds of things and speak out on behalf of veganism.

    I'm not saying it's all or nothing, but I'm merely pointing out that it's certainly not the best we can do. I know sometimes it seems that people like myself and others are being the "vegan police," but in my opinion it's important to have people like that to keep the movement heading in the right direction.

    I'm not saying it's not a good step, I'm just trying to inform people that it's certainly not enough. Factory farming isn't the issue, it's using animals at all. That's why I cringe whenever I hear people use "factory farming" as a deterrent because in my opinion, that would lead one to believe that if we all went back to "family farms" it would all be okay. You know as well as I that is simply not true or even possible.

    Despite the way the were treated, all animals are slaughtered the same way. In addition, dairy cows and egg-laying hens suffer just as much, if not more than animals raised for "meat."

  4. Ginny Messina November 17, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    Well, I think you know I agree with you that improved treatment of animals is not the ultimate goal. However, we have the ability in the relatively near future–I think definitely in your lifetime, and maybe even in mine–to end the very worst abuse of millions of animals, which is factory farming. In my opinion, it would be immoral not to do that if we can. It doesn't equal animal liberation or animal rights, but it sure is a major step in the right direction. And every effort toward that end–including vegan education, undercover investigations like those from Mercy for Animals, and books like Eating Animals should be supported. Because it's going to take a lot of different tactics to bring a powerful industry like factory farming to its knees. But it's going to happen. And I support and appreciate everyone who is helping.

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