Saturday, 9 July 2011

Eating Animals: Book Review

Jonathan Safran Foer's book runs the whole gamut of possibility, from A to B.

When you're ready to take a peek behind the label, behind the attractive pictures of happy-go-lucky animals living out their days on an idyllic farm, and see the horror of industrialised farming as it really is, Eating Animals is a fantastic place to start. Not too preachy, JSF's book is a thoroughly researched investigation of the madness of modern food culture, and a system so unsustainable and fundamentally cruel that no one who ever had a heart can look upon it's works without dispair. 

I imagine myself to be concerned about these issues and reasonably aware, in reading the book I found I was still hiding from the unpalatable truths of  mass meat and factory fish. If you're the kind of person who's happier not knowing, and who's conscience will permit it, this one is best left on the shelf. Of course you and your children will still be poisoned by the flesh of animals so far removed from their natural state that they can't breed, or live without regular doses of medication that weaken the imune system of first the animal and then everyone at your dinner table. Still, the animals of the packet look sweet don't they?

While I'm a massive fan of this book there is one area where it's scope is a little limited JSF is mainly vegetarian, and to him this is both the solution and the terrain the debate takes place over. A: Factory farmed or B: Not at all. Options C:, D: and E: are never mentioned

I recently spent six weeks eating Venison that I'd shot myself, I'd like to say 'only eating' but the sausages I made from it did have some traded-for pork in them. I was and will be again disconnected from the factory farming of meat.  Holly and Hank have gotten pretty close to 'game only', and The Envirocapitalist has also written about venison being the main source of meat his family eats. 

I've met quite a few families who, even living in the city, only eat eggs from their backyard chicken coops. Deus Ex Machina and Wendy eat Rabbits raised at the end of the garden. Hubert was living on agricultural pests shot within a mile of his home and there's another option, but we'll come to that later.

Clever, witty and wise; Eating Animals made me think again about many of the ideas that first inspired my journey and this blog. Good Work Fella. Well worth a read.

Update: Ankle still hurts, so I've not been out in a while, but the Fallow Buck season is only weeks away and I'll be hobbling to a tree stand in search of more nose-to-tail eating very soon. In the meantime lots more Kit-Tart-ism to come. Lots more.

More soon
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