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As you may have derived from the title of this post, I’m currently reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I am now on page 100 or so, and sometimes I literally cringe when reading this book. Like this morning. The chapter was about sows (Foer viciously calls them “mama pigs” and other endearing things) who, when it’s time for them to give birth, are beaten badly (sometimes so badly their snouts are broken and they die of starvation due to that) in order to get them into the very small confined spaces designated for that purpose. You see, since pigs at those huge US factory pig farms aren’t allowed to walk around freely, and their noses are constantly full of *that* smell, those mama sows sometimes step on their newborn piglets killing them, simply because they can’t control their legs the way they’re supposed to (no muscles, no coordination), and because they can’t sniff around for their piglets due to that constant stank. So the sows about to give birth are strapped into their birthing crates and aren’t able to move at all.

I cringed even more when I read that piglets that don’t grow fast enough on their unnatural “food”-cocktail of coagulated blood and antibiotics are simply grabbed by the hind legs and beaten to death by swinging them around and banging their heads on the floor – and sometimes they are beaten only half to death, so they run around with eyes hanging out and have to be grabbed by their legs again…

I’m sorry for sharing (I am really not the missionary kind of vegetarian), but this chapter haunted me. Foer peppers his grisly descriptions with dreamy tales from real pig farms, where mama sows are allowed to roam free, to dig in the dirt, and to live in well-balanced social groups, all of which prevents them from ever stepping on their young. This contrast makes the pig factory farm sows’ fates so much harder to accept for me.

Foer is pretty much a literary genius, so it makes sense that his wording would hit the reader hard. And it actually makes me not want to read any further… I have (probably subconsciously) piled two other books on top of this one on the reading shelf, and haven’t touched it for some time now. It’s a pity, since Eating Animals contains a valid message. Maybe I’m just too easily influenced by things I read, but this one will probably end up in the Finish-Someday-Pile.

Bookmark check: quaint postcard-scenery with trees and a lake.

While I’m on the topic of vegetarianism: I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like the thought of eating something that once had a face. But I actually think eating meat responsibly (i.e. from humanely raised and kept animals) gives you a greater “power” over the meat industry than eating no meat at all. Vegetarians’ and vegans’ opinions don’t matter one bit to the meat-industry, because they don’t fork in the money, you know. But people who eat and buy meat every week have to be taken seriously by meat producers, since they’re the target group and their demands have to be met in order to make profit. When meat-eaters choose to buy locally and from farms who treat their animals well in life AND death, now that should, in theory, really make a difference! Shouldn’t it?

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