My friends and I used to hold a “family steak night,” which involved much preparation, but not once did we give thought to the slabs of meat we actually bought.
While the kitchen was fuming with smoke, we would stand around talking, each friend participating in some way to carefully craft the meal, and once consumed, we sluggishly draped our bodies over furniture and shared facial expressions that screamed “content.”
After practicing yoga for over a year and doing some research on the animal agriculture industry and global climate change, my views dramatically changed and I became a vegetarian.
Johnathan Safran Foer’s outstanding book Eating Animals, exposes the inhumane and unethical treatment of animals in factory farms that are subject to the influences of politics and the promise of economic prosperity, even if it is at the dispense of other living beings. “The College Reads!” selection for the 2012 to 2013 year, Eating Animals, engages all individuals throughout the community, demanding them to reconsider the ease of eating factory farmed meat and to replace that convenience with a moral obligation to help re-shape the systems that we have unknowingly created. People who find it convenient to buy cheap factory farmed meat have implicitly accepted the practices of inhumane slaughter and violence that far surpasses anything the average person could ever fathom.
The debilitating effects of disregarding how we get our food ripple throughout society, where unethical treatment and violence create steaks, hamburgers, pork chops, chicken and even seafood that we blindly consume. What’s even worse are the genetically altered, and in many ways, artificial organisms we call chicken or turkey that are produced at unnatural rates, and become breeding grounds for new and more powerful diseases.
Foer is correct in suggesting that the health of society has dramatically declined, with super-microbes eating away at people’s bodies, morals and their dollar. You think the pharmaceutical companies aren’t prospering from our cheap meat and seafood products too?
Foer’s research digs deep to discover the interconnectedness of existing systems and institutions, sharing his findings and experiences in a personal and honest way to his audience. What more needs to be said when we have become aware that society’s consumption of tormented animal flesh passes on to us in the form of pandemic diseases and various types of cancer, that of which is ultimately traced back to factory farms?
While reading about the detailed atrocities and various personal accounts, I was particularly struck by how abstracted we are from both the environment and each other. Thus, it has become very clear to me how violence, sexual exploitation and lack of compassion or consideration for other beings have permeated into our society like a virus. The abuse and over-exploitation of animals in factory farm settings are representative of our lack of interconnectedness as a society, and our failure to acknowledge other living beings and the environment we often take for granted.
Although I had to put the book down quite a few times to fully digest and interpret Foer’s words, his honesty and determination to inform not only himself and his family, but of all the families that comprise America resonated with me, and have dramatically altered my perceptions of how our current systems operate. Even though I find much of the information horrific, and even paralyzing at times, having Foer present the reader with cold hard facts is entirely necessary. Foer recognizes that the information can be overwhelming and he therefore completes the book by empowering his readers with the duty of creating new ways of systematic thinking.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.