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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Eating Animals

Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer I am floating this again (last time! Swear!), this time for the Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge. Day whatever I am on asks for a book that changed your life. I... don't know that I have ever read a book that really changed my life. But this one comes the closest.That sounds a little dippy, but really. For years, I had skittered around the margins of vegetarianism. I'd forgo meat the majority of the time, perhaps even the vast majority, but I didn't have really concrete reasons as to why. Health? Environmentalism? Animal rights? That time I found a hunk of cartilage in a Subway chicken breast?This book gave me reasons. Reasons I knew about already, sure -- we've all heard horror stories, seen a PETA protest, read Fast Food Nation. But Jonathan Safran Foer, in addition to laying out all the terrible truths about where our food comes from nowadays, managed to make me realize that my choices do matter, even if I'm not really "making a difference." After having a child, JSF realizes that what he eats and how he goes about it is part of the story of his life, a story that he is telling to his children every day, just by living it. He decided his story can't be about eating animals anymore, not while he carries the knowledge of how harmful modern farming techniques are, in so many ways, and how much of a liberal pipe dream phrases like "free range," "cage free" and "humane" almost always are.Have I eaten meat since I read this? Yes, a few times, see below. But it has also, in the last six months, been a big, big contribution to the drastic, near complete reduction in my egg and dairy consumption. Because those foods, as much as I love them, are part of the story too.Food choices are deeply personal. It is also easy to slip into stridency and defensiveness when talking about them, no matter which side you are on. If you are curious, or questioning, read this book. It might change your life too, sort of. ---This isn't really a review; it's just a comment I left on another review that I decided to lazily re-post. And now I am lazily bumping it, because I have accidentally eaten meat a whole bunch of times in the last few weeks after going like 6 months without (though in my defense I was on vacation in a country where as far as I know they raise their animals using more humane, old-style techniques). So anyway I wanted to re-read my review again and re-commit. Then I found a typo. ---What I appreciated about Eating Animals is the way it argues that even if you totally ignore the question of whether it is "right" to eat meat or not, the way meat is "farmed" in our country is intrinsically wrong, in my mind, unarguably so.Whether you think animals have any right to exist or even to die with a minimal amount of suffering (which I think is also pretty obviously the case, because we all know pain is horrible and try to avoid it, and feel empathy when we hear about people or cute animals suffering, unless we are sociopaths or something), modern factory farming produces food that is frequently unsafe for consumption, and in any case loaded with bacteria (seriously, did you know every piece of chicken you buy is bloated with feces-contaminated water, a lot of it, which is there because of the way the animals are slaughtered and processed?) and antibiotics. Far from only hurting animals and occasionally making people sick, these practices do great harm to the environment, poisoning the land and the air. Yes, they produce cheap food, but only because the huge corporations that own the farms don't pay for all that environmental damage, and for some reason our government has a totally incomprehensible farm subsidies system in place that somehow makes all this possible and profitable.I don't eat meat anymore, even though I love it and constantly crave it (well, not so much chicken anymore). If it was still farmed the way it was 100 years ago, on small farms that treated animals well, but also did far less harm to the environment, I probably would still do it. You can get that kind of meat today, but it is expensive, because it costs what it should cost. Cheeseburgers at McDonald's should not cost $1.I do realize that the foods I do eat are also part of a huge corporate system that is still really screwed up (I eat bananas and drink coffee, for one thing). The way I see it, cutting out meat, which is by far the most harmful eating practice I engaged in, is the least I can do.Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 10: Book that changed your life.