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Eating Animals

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  73,435 ratings  ·  7,195 reviews
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his life oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. Once he started a family, the moral dimensions of food became increasingly important.

Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involv
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published November 2nd 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published October 31st 2009)
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Marco My girlfriend gifted this to me and I then became a vegetarian. She's of Indian decent and has been vegetarian since birth. The book gives you a prett…moreMy girlfriend gifted this to me and I then became a vegetarian. She's of Indian decent and has been vegetarian since birth. The book gives you a pretty clear look into the gruesomeness of the meat industry. After I read this, I watched the video "Meet Your Meat" and that sealed the deal for me.(less)
Deepak Supra most devoted carnivores don't really have the guts to read books like this. if you should read it, it would either piss you off and you wouldn't be ab…moremost devoted carnivores don't really have the guts to read books like this. if you should read it, it would either piss you off and you wouldn't be able to finish it, or it would cause you to make changes you hadn't before even considered.(less)

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Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to d4 by: Jonathan Safran Foer's previous writing
This isn't as much of a review of Jonathan Safran Foer's latest book as it is a reaction to it--a reaction to the reactions of others, even. The title of this book garners a reaction from people who haven't read it and who may never read it. Just carry Eating Animals around for a few days and you'll understand. There's an assumption that a book about eating animals is going to tell you that it is in some way wrong to eat animals--whether for the welfare of animals or for your own welfare--and mo ...more
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it

i can't review this book. can't even finish it. the page-count to tears-shed ratio is just too high. and my head's not in the right place for this shit. (and talk about preaching to the choir…) -- i haven't read jonathan safran foer's novels and fuckoff what he's ever written or what he ever will write: he's a great man for this book alone. he's a great man by default, perhaps, because most people are such evil and miserable cunts. but, no. set apart from a race of miserable cunts he
Ruby Granger
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this book. I don't think I've ever read something so important.
Starting from a neutral standpoint on the matter, Safran Foer answers the question of whether he and his family should eat meat. Approaching the subject as a journalist, he includes interviews with family-run farms, activists and slaughterhouse workers. He includes different perspectives and arguments (which is great!) but ultimately exposes an underground network which is shocking.
I knew the situation was bad,
Mario the lone bookwolf
Enjoying a good meal sounds so much better than livelong torturing and killing when fat enough.

Please note that parts of this review are unusually short, collected speech notes. Could be offending to some bigoted unknowing victims of cognitive bias too. Go look a pig, chicken, or cow in the eye while eating your freaking bacon, chicken nuggets, or steak.

The adverse effects are not limited to martyred animals and sick consumers, because before that is the exploitation and destruction of vast are
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am not a vegetarian. Honestly, I've never even tried to be a vegetarian at any point in my life. I love steak. I love bacon. I love sushi. I could go on, but you get the idea.

With my son not being able to have any sort of gluten or artificial coloring in the food he eats, I've always thought I was doing good by stopping by the actual farmer's stand to get fresh eggs and some fruit & veggies (one benefit of living in a small, hick town) and then picking up my nicely-packaged and already butcher
Sean Barrs
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: meat eaters
Should we stop eating animals?

To my mind the answer to this question is very plain and very straightforward; it does not require much thought or calculation: the answer is, of course, yes.

We should stop. We should have stopped a long time ago, but it is very difficult for an entire population to break a habit that is centuries in the making. A habit, though, is not justification enough for eating animals. There can be no justification.

Truth is, the animal agriculture industry is the single la
Lisa Vegan
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody 16+; anyone who’s in a position to decide for themselves what to consume
Recommended to Lisa by: Christina Stind
I was torn how to rate this book. It isn’t perfect (I noted many flaws in its comprehensiveness) but it’s amazing enough, so 5 stars it is.

I’ve read so many books such as this but none for a while, and it’s because reading about how humans use animals is so devastating for me. It’s not just the books’ contents, it’s knowing that, at most, only 1% of Americans feel as I do, that my feelings and beliefs are shared by so few (The latest statistics I have are that 3% of Americans are truly vegetaria
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
i've long flirted with vegetarianism. for a few months in the early '00s, i even dated her. but i'd never truly wanted to spend all of my time with her, send her flowers, or introduce her to my parents (and everyone i've ever cared about) until i read this book.

foer claims early on that he hasn't set out to write a book about why people should become vegetarians, an argument that holds zero ounces of water once you actually start reading his descriptions of factory farms. i found it impossible t
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read2010, upwithfood
In his book Heat, Bill Buford reflects (as he prepares to butcher a pig) that he has always respected vegetarians for being among the few who actually think about meat.

In Eating Animals, JSF doesn't seem to respect much of anybody, other than his grandmother and Kafka. For all the promising ethical paths he walks down, from traditional animal husbandry to Bill Niman's sustainable beef to animal rights activism, he's so determined to shit on everyone else's ideas about eating meat that I'm not s
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
Hear are my thoughts in order as I was reading this book....

1. OMG.....OMFG!

2. Crap...now I'm a vegatarian!

3. I can never have my favorite Mongolian Chicken from Mings again (snif).

Yes in that order. I have not eaten meat since half way through this book. Will it stick? I hope so.

Not only the mind numbing crulety of the factory farms (which is plenty), and the enviormental damage they cause, but the shear crap they feed the animals did it for me. H1N1....factory farms. traced back to a hog farm
Meredith Holley
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Michael Pollan
Recommended to Meredith by: JSF? No need for a recommendation
I don’t mean this dismissively, but I feel like I finally get what Charlton Heston meant when he cried out, “Soylent Green is people!! It’s peeeeople!” Just . . . I don’t know. That movie’s pretty silly, but I keep walking around the house feeling like all those years that I ate meat, I was really eating human souls. And I even knew almost all of this information before reading the book. I know I’m being dramatic, as per usual, but there really is something about food that brings out both the be ...more
Ashley DiNorcia
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I realize I finished this book 10 days ago and have not rated it...and I also can't stop thinking about it.

There's a lot I could say about this book and how much it made me think-it's completely riddled with highlighter-but honestly, most people I know wouldn't bother picking this up no matter what I say. We eat animals because we're too selfish and stubborn to change. We eat animals because we're too lazy to make the "inconvenient" choices. We eat animals because we've been told over and over
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, fresh fruits and vegetables are alive and responsive to light when you eat them, grain harvesters leave a wake of maimed and mutilated wildlife, and a songbird dies for every cup of coffee. I suspect that last is an imprecise ratio. So, Burroughs point that your food was alive is absolutely true. While North Americans aren’t the only people who overeat, it’s obvious that we do. Ninety dollars for a Thanksgiving turkey would certainly limit my household consumption.
Books Ring Mah Bell
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Well done, Jonathan Safran Foer, well done.
(your book, not steak)

Look, I love meat. I really do. I hate myself for that, but I love meat. I also deplore seeing living creatures suffer. (I'm the jerk that lets spiders out of the house instead of squishing them.) I also know that if I had to kill the animal myself, I'd be a veggie for sure. I'm a total sucker for animals, but not enough of a sucker, I guess.

In junior high, I became a "crazy animal rights/environmentalist tree worshiping bunny hugg
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
“For us to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. The lies are necessary because, without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.”
-Derrick Jensen

People cannot talk about their food choices without resorting to a narrative, and I’m no different. Food is so intensely personal; we relate to it on such an elemental level, that it’s easy to understand. The foods we eat are part of the mythos we use to delineate our identities. We eat
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now, and it was a long process that brought me here (literally too, I didn’t go cold turkey). I’m sometimes surprised by how little I thought about certain things throughout my life. And coming from someone who grew up with a face in a book, and his head in the clouds, I find this interesting. I over-thought and over-analyzed everything (or at least everything I thought about). I spent my days thinking about fantasy worlds and the future, about girls and re ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a difficult review to write, my reading experience of this book has been painful.

The ethics of meat-eating is something I've struggled with for a long while and I personally chose vegetarianism over five years ago. However, I refrain from bringing it up in my conversations because, as the author points out in this book, food is a cultural icon. Our debates regarding food are discomfort inducing to say the least, and they often don't have any conclusions to offer.

While most of our indiffe

Update, 6/1/21: "A no-beef diet is great — but only if you don’t replace it with chicken" https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22...

The title alone may scare off those who’d rather not know how their meat got from farm to table, but Eating Animals is one of those books that’s too important not to read. This is part memoir, part journalistic investigation, but the book is strongest when going inside slaughterhouses and educating, exposing the truth of something heinous beyond imagi
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
“If Nothing Matters, There's Nothing to Save”
- Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals


I'm going to have to chew on this book for a bit. I'm not sure a review the day after reading will fully vest what I plan on doing after reading this. I might be about ready to go veg, but there is something just annoying enough about JSF that almost wants to keep me eating meat just to piss him off. Nah, that really isn't true, but I wish it was.

The book isn't as well-written as I would have liked. It gave me
Alex J. O'Connor
A non-intrusive and at times touching case for reconsidering our relationship with food. One of the fairest analyses of animal farming available to purchase -- it isn't unequivocally opposed to the use of animals for food, but that is not the point of the book.

If you already don't consume animals, this won't do much for you besides providing arguments to strengthen your enthusiasm for veganism, and humanising those who haven't made the same life choice. If you still do eat animals, this will be
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?
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Eating animals ...is about eating animals..and much much more. I've always felt wrong for eating meat yet continued to do so. For some reason, I thought it would be so hard to give up. Over time my conscience spoke louder than my fears (denials) and the ball has been rolling ever since. I wanted some extra encouragement, so I ordered this book.

I knew about slaughter houses and what goes on: to an extent. Little did I know, I really knew nothing. I've ingested this food all my life! HOLYYYYYY SH
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I think that this book has changed my life, albeit in a really f*cking inconvenient way. I've read Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and all the types of books that people who are trying to be socially conscious are supposed to read, and I know about the horrors of factory farming and how brutally animals are treated in the course of getting to my plate. But somehow it's been easier to live with it and ignore it in the past; Pollan even gives you a convenient out at the end of his book, wh ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-affairs
Addendum 2/11/10 at bottom, edited to remove some grammatical errors 5/20/10

For Feb reading club. This NYTimes science article should help heat things up: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/sci...

Joint review with Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma

Let's see, things we can't or shouldn't eat: butter, steak, meat, spinach because of the salmonella (or maybe it's only the organic spinach that gets contaminated), apples because of the alar, salt, sugar, fat, any food not bought at a farmer's market, any foo
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
4? 4.5? –

i’ve been vegetarian/vegan for the past two years and the contents of this book is the reason why it’s lasted this long (and will continue to last longer). although it did take me TWO YEARS to finally finish this, Eating Animals is life changing, important, and at times, hard to consume.

i wouldn’t consider myself a typical “animal lover” and grew up loving burgers and korean bbq. but i grew interested in the vegan community and picked this up a few weeks after i decided to make the chan
Ginny Messina
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There is no way that any compassionate and responsible person could read this book and not want to begin taking steps to end his or her contributions to factory farming.

Jonathan Safron Foer is not an animal rights activist and that’s not what this book is about. At the same time, it is not another Omnivore’s Dilemma, either. Eating Animals is a much more honest analysis of factory farming and it is also far more honest about the solutions. (In fact, it’s fair to say that this book makes Pollan
reading is my hustle
Edit 04/15/13

"About thirty years ago the poultry industry convinced the UDSA to reclassify feces so that it could continue to use automatic eviscerators (where fecal contamination occurs from high-speed machines ripping open the birds' intestines, releasing feces into their body cavities). Feces are now classified as a "cosmetic blemish."

What does this mean (other than the fact that consumers are eating chicken shit)? Inspectors condemn half the number of birds. So, according to journalist Scot
Lee Klein
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Warning: the review that appears below was written in Summer 2015 (it's now Spring 2019) around the time the author experimented with veganism for a few months. He is embarrassed by the naivety and ignorance expressed in it. He now knows that climate change isn't primarily caused by cow farts and that grains and beans (carbs in general) are converted into glucose in your body, a process that maintains elevated insulin levels and thereby significantly contributes to diabetes, heart conditions, mo ...more
NAT.orious reads ☾
This book is for you if… you want some hard facts on why eating meat is problematic. But be prepared on absolutey zero reflections on dairy consumption.

We all can guess how 99% of the meat we consume is produced. We know 99% of the animals in the meat industry live a horrible, cruel and disgusting life. And we also know that the way we raise and consume 99% of the animals we eat has awful implications for our health. It is not possible to produce the sick and twisted amount of
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lee by: Lisa Vegan
I’m sitting here after finishing this book asking myself how is it possible that only one short month ago I was an omnivore, regularly and obliviously munching away on fish and meat without the least idea of what goes into their production and delivery to my table.
The way this author approached the topic of eating animals really resonated with me. It was personal, it was engaging, he conveyed the information and expressed his preferences without making me feel I had to follow suit.

I love how h
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Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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