Dieren eten (Eating animals) - Jonathan Safran Foer
When I was about 17 I read Animal Liberation, Peter Singer's influential work on animal rights, and one of the reasons why I stopped eating animals. I was converted for life so I never felt the need to read up on the subject since then.
Marieke pointed this book out to me. It appeared to have the same spirit that could be found in Animal Liberation but of course it would be more up-to-date. I tried to receive it as a welcoming gift when joining Partij voor de Dieren, but due to an administrational error this didn't go through (and I am still not a member).
What is the book about? The difference between farm animals and pets, eating turkey as part of tradition (thanksgiving), is eating meat necessary?, is it "natural"? the origin and development of bio-industry (interesting!), the effect of bio-industry on the environment and influenza pandemics, animal activism. Foer interviews both animal activists and farmers, as well as slaughterhouse employees and this makes the book very lively.
But the essence of the book is about suffering. The profound, endless and pointless suffering bio-industry animals have to go through. It is described in short vivid passages that grab you by the throat. The suffering of chickens, pigs, cows and fish is described in detail. It covers both the systematic institutionalized suffering as well as the incidental, sadistic behavior of frustrated slaughterhouse employees.
Marieke asked our meat eating friends if they could read it for us. Surely they would have the stomach for it? And since they refused I had to read it myself. I must advice Marieke against reading it. There's no need to upset her.
And I even hesitate to invite my omnivoric friends and family to read it. I can't hear another more line of "It's really bad, but it doesn't stop me from eating meat. It just tastes so good."
I have had enough for the next 20 years.