Eating Animals: Discussion!

Eating Animals

There are 24 annotations in my copy of Eating Animals. The passages I highlighted were funny, like when Jonathan Safran Foer described his childhood visits with his grandmother.

Growing up, my brother and I thought our grandmother was the greatest chef who ever lived. […] And yet we were wordly enough kids to know that the Greatest Chef Who Ever Lived would probably have more than one recipe (chicken with carrots), and that most Great Recipes involved more than two ingredients. And why didn’t we question her when she told us that dark food is inherently healthier than light food, or that most of the nutrients are found in the peel or crust? (The sandwiches of those weekend stays were made with the saved ends of pumpernickel loaves.) She taught us that animals that are bigger than you are very good for you, animals that are smaller than you are good for you, fish (which aren’t animals) are fine for you, then tuna (which aren’t fish), then vegetables, fruits, cakes, cookies, and sodas. No foods are bad for you. Fats are healthy–all fats, always, in any quantity. Sugars are very healthy. The fatter a child is, the healthier it is–especially if it’s a boy. Lunch is not one meal, but three, to be eaten at 11:00, 12:30, and 3:00.

Years and years from now, this is how Mikey and Nico will remember my mother.

I highlighted passages that gave me pause, such as his description of his grandmother’s refusal to eat pork during World War II.

“The worst it got was near the end. A lot of people died right at the end, and I didn’t know if I could make it another day. A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me.”

“He saved your life.”

“I didn’t eat it.”

“You didn’t eat it?”

“It was pork. I wouldn’t eat pork.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean, why?”

“What, because it wasn’t kosher?”

“Of course.”

“But not even to save your life?”

“If nothing matters, there is nothing to save.”

Of course I highlighted many passages on the abuse of animals in factory farms, even though this wasn’t new to me. When you have been as interested in veganism for as long as I have (I was vegan for two years in college and, oddly, have an impressive collection of vegan cookbooks) nothing much surprises you, other than your continued support of factory farming by eating meat. I knew about the male chicks (DO NOT click on that link unless you have a strong stomach), the pigs, the veal.

I also highlighted what did surprise me, like how absolutely devastating animal agriculture is to the environment.

Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change.

Or:

According to the UN, the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, around 40 percent more than the entire transport sector–cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships–combined. Animal agriculture is responsible for 37 percent of anthropogenic methan, which offers twenty-three times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2, as well as 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, which provides a staggering 296 times the GWP of CO2. The most current data even quantified the role of diet: omnivores contribute seven times the volume of greenhouse gases that vegans do.

How very, very difficult it is to avoid factory farmed animals.

Nintey-nine percent of all land animals eaten or used to produce milk and eggs in the United States are factory farmed. So although there are important exceptions, to speak about eating animals today is to speak about factory farming. [emphasis in the original]

The impact animal agriculture has on biodiversity.

For every ten tuna, sharks, and other large predatory fish that were in our oceans fifty to a hundred years ago, only one is left.

[Shrimp] trawlers sweep up fish, sharks, rays, crabs, squid, scallops-typically about a hundred different fish and other species. Virtually all die…. The average trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures as bycatch overboard.

The widespread human rights violations to which I contributed to with my cognitive dissonance.

[The] annual turnover rates typically exceed 100%. […] By the standards of the international human rights community, the typical working conditions in America’s slaughterhouses constitute human rights violations; for you, they constitute a crucial way to produce cheap meat and feed the world.

The workers most likely to be caught in the net are undocumented immigrants, recent immigrants, and non-native speakers. Fast Food Nation, the movie, touches upon these issues. Regardless of your stance on immigration, no one deserves to be treated like animals.

In fact, animals don’t deserve to be treated like animals–at least not factory farmed animals. This isn’t a belief limited to left-wing hippies, the privileged bourgeoisie, or extreme animal activists. Many political and religious authorities on both sides of the aisle and up and down the economic ladder have commented on the horrors of factory farms, including the Catholic Church.

Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless Him and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. [. . .] It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.

[W]e can see that they are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God’s creatures . [ . . .] Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.

— Pope Benedict XVI

[A]nimals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren. [T]hey are the fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect […] and are as near to God as men are. Animals have the breath of life and were given it by God. In this respect, man created by the hand of God is identical with all living creatures. […] The existence therefore of all living creatures depends on the living spirit/breath of God that not only creates but also sustains and renews the face of the earth.

—Saint Pope John Paul II

I also found a quote by Pope Francis but I just searched for 30 minutes and can’t find it. Naturally.

Many people continue to eat animal products after reading Eating Animals, and I believe that is because the book does not preach or command. It’s philosophical in nature and allows the reader to make the final decision. Key: the reader. How one eats is a personal decision, barring eating disorders and other obvious exceptions. Cannibalism = NOT OKAY.

This brings me to the most amazing revelation I had when reading this book. If you follow me on instagram, you know I am fond of sharing screenshots of what I’m reading. I did that with Eating Animals on all my social media channels and discovered there is no faster way to lose followers (a term I still loathe, by the way). This surprised me. Why does anyone care what I do or don’t eat? Or read? Or say? Or think? To take issue with how one eats is like taking issue with how one spends their money, unless that person is proselytizing. Then they are kind of asking for it.

After we got Buttercup, the boys decided they would no longer eat chicken. To quote Mikey, “I pet birds; I don’t eat birds.” I didn’t say much because they’re young enough to take on commitments the extent of which they don’t understand. Both boys have been on the receiving end of some teasing by both family and friends when they hear of their chicken-ban.

I assumed they would cave at the first chicken dinner, but Nico surprised me. He went to a school function and the only meat option was chicken. He told the mom serving the meal that he didn’t eat chicken. When questioned he said, “Because I have a pet bird, and that would be like eating her ancestors.” He later said the same thing when he sat down with 1st and 8th graders. Then he enjoyed his “coleslaw, fruit, bread, and Sun Chips. And, uh, two pieces of cake.” I saw his 8th grade partner yesterday, and he couldn’t believe a 7 year old would pass up fried chicken.

I can.

Nico

TL;DR
? I found this infographic on Eating Animals in a nutshell.

truth-about-factory-farms

Comments
58 Responses to “Eating Animals: Discussion!”
  1. Amy says:

    Jules,

    I can’t wait to hear more of the discussion. As for “followers,” I read your blog because you make me think and very often laugh. If I agreed with every word, it would make for some very mind-numbing reading:)

    • Jules says:

      Exactly! Why would anyone want that? I can see if I was promoting the skinning of puppies or suggesting we chomp on baby fingers, but come on!

      p.s. I’m not sure how much discussion we’ll get today. This was a tough book, and I didn’t think a lot of people would read it.

  2. Christina says:

    I liked his non preachy approach to farmed animals. It’s still a horrible situation though. I was a vegetarian for 22 years and then started eating some meat. I only eat a chicken called ‘smart chicken’thats raised humanely and killed humanely. When I read frugal blogs where people are buying .59 chicken I cringe. It’s chicken from horrible conditions and treated horribly. We have our own chickens so eggs are natural. I also eat only organic farmed raised beef. Not a lot ,just some. I think everyone needs to be informed about factory raised animals and the terrible conditions animals live and die in. But if we all did a small something it would change the way they do things. Do we really need that .99 mcdonalds burger.?? I do ,I admit , give in on occasion , to In an Out burgers. But not too often.

    Tell Nico that dinosaurs are the ancestors of chickens! Ha ! Ha!

  3. Julie Kuntze says:

    I must admit, I have not read the book, but I do think we need to really think about how we spend our grocery dollars. It is important to know where your food comes from! My dad works for a local dairy, and I buy ONLY their milk for my family. They welcome visitors to their farm, turn manure into a compost product they also sell, and are building a bio-fuel plant to recycle their waste (and waste from other plants and factories nearby) in an even more environmentally friendly way. Similarly, I only purchase chicken that is raised and processed by a responsible, local plant. Recently, a grocery store manager asked why I didn’t buy their store brand of chicken, since it was so much cheaper. I said, Well, where is it processed? Where are the chickens raised? He couldn’t answer the questions, so I said I couldn’t buy his product — which was a concept he just could not believe.

    • Jules says:

      I think everyone should read the book, though it’s a hard subject. It took me 3 YEARS to work up the courage. I’m so glad I did. I feel now that the blinders have been ripped off, but I’m glad I read it.

  4. LauraC says:

    I was really hoping to get to be part of the discussion; today is super busy so I’ll (try) to be brief. I find it interesting (but not surprising) that two people could read the same book and have opposite impressions. I thought he did a good job at being fair and nonjudgmental in the first third of the book. I enjoyed it (shout out to the reader who advised me to wait to read it until a bit after my dog’s surgery – thank you!!) and it seemed a quick read, and interesting. However, the last two thirds screamed preaching to me. I don’t have the book in front of me to pull a passage, but I remember noticing the difference in voice and thought he lost his “journalistic” fact presenting. This is not to say I was disagreeing with him – he’s the last straw to push my husband and me to make the significant effort to find and only buy ethically raised and butchered meat – but I just found it ironic due to his earlier claim to be impartial.

    I also was aware of the horror of factory farms, nonetheless the chicken section horrified me like nothing else. Maybe because we have three chickens that we’ve enjoyed watching this last year? I took a break after the cow section, and admit to skimming through the seafood and pork sections. There is a limit to what my brain can process. His point could have been made in 2-3 paragraphs but it went on and on.

    My favorite part (aside from his grandmother) was the vocalization of the California ranchers and the description of their philosophy. It brought clarity to what had been mulling around in my brain, why I have no interest in veganism, but have toyed with vegetarianism for quite some time. I fall squarely on the animal welfare side, and think eating meat to be natural and beneficial. The US has just taken what was once good and natural and perverted it.

    This past weekend my family went to the Mother Earth News Fair here in Western Washington, and it was exactly what was needed after reading Eating Meat. Proper farms, ethically treated animals, etc. all together to kickstart our research.

    This has been a rambling comment, sorry, but at least I wanted to contribute something. My mother grew up on a farm in Kansas in the 40s and 50s. My grandfather had 60 hogs and 100ish cattle, a couple of milking cows and 200-300 chickens. Mom looked at me like I had two heads when I asked if the hogs had room to turn around. I think of this often as I read Michael Pollan, etc. (Also, I was shocked to read the first criticism of him in this book, as well as Polyface Farms, which I think so highly of. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with the criticism, thought it was reaching.)

    So although I wouldn’t rate this book more than a low average, it gets credit for the final push we needed to reject grocery store meat. Though not perfect, and we even bought a Polish sausage at the fair, I haven’t bought any meat from the grocery store since reading it, and we’re sourcing local meat right now. I look forward to the rest of the discussion throughout today!

    • Jules says:

      If you don’t already, you should follow my friend Andrea on instagram @gwynethmademedoit or at her blog http://www.fortheloveof.net. She read this book last year and made amazing changes to her family’s diet without becoming vegetarian.

      I didn’t find the book preachy because I have read an awful lot of books that promote vegetarian/vegan diets. Good grief–you don’t know preachy until you read some of those! Haha! Foer sounded downright phlegmatic when it compared to some of what I’ve read. :)

      • LauraC says:

        Just wanted to belatedly clarify, my mom’s look, was like, “Of course they could turn around, and walk and do whatever they wanted, whatever are you talking about?” There was no concept of “animal as nonliving commodity” such as exists today.

  5. Marian says:

    I have to start by saying we’re vegetarian, nearly completely so, although my husband and youngest son and I eat fish every once in a while. For many years we ate meat and chicken only two or three times a week (the rest of the meals were vegetarian), and anything I bought was free-range/organic (this because I thought it was better environmentally, better for the animals, and better for our health). Anyway, the main reason we eat vegetarian now is because the more I read, the more I’m convinced it’s the healthiest diet, especially given the myriad of health issues on my husband’s side of the family (diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol) that I’d love for him to avoid. (A very informative website is nutritionfacts.org, which is run by an MD who looks at nutrition research and attempts to sort out the good science from the bad. As an aside, I’d encourage anyone with chronic/frequent bladder infections to check out his eye-opening video “avoiding chicken to avoid bladder infections”).

    When you announced this book, my first reaction was that because I had watched Food, Inc. I didn’t need to read it. I did, though, almost because I was on a roll (months ago I read The Food Revolution by John Robbins, and I just finished reading Eaarth, by Bill McKibben). I thought I wouldn’t learn anything new, but I did: the reason that standard American chicken can be so awful (water bath vs air chilled) (as an aside, when we moved to the US from Canada 15 years ago I literally cried the first time I ate our previously favourite chicken dish); the suffering and “bycatch” in commercial fishing (which astounds me, making me seriously re-think if I want to contribute to that). As well, I hadn’t really given too much thought previously to the basic concept that the author weaves through the book (why is it ok to eat some animals but not others?).

    I do think that this book, like so many others, is largely preaching to the choir. And I have to say – however intolerant this may come off – that the whole “I’m going to stick my head in the sand and continue on my merry way” is something that really bothers me. It bothers me to the point that I feel I’m in danger of becoming a supermarket vigilante (and I’m only kinda sorta joking…). It’s been on our Canadian news (we moved back to Canada 3 years ago) that climate change is happening – not in some distant future when it’s “just” our grandchildren who have to deal with it – but in our own lifetimes. And yet we – collectively – all seem to be continuing on, doing all the things we’ve been told for years are bad for the environment: we continue to truck around shrink-wrapped plastic bottles of water (selling them for $2.66/30 bottles at our local grocery store), we buy cheap crap shipped from China, we keep forgetting our reusable cups when we get coffee from Starbucks, etc etc. And now, not only is the news out that livestock-based agriculture is devastating to our climate and completely unsustainable (given the fact that developing countries are wanting to adopt our Western diet, and sadly, are now getting our Western diseases), but now we hear the World Health Organization announcing that due to the massive misuse of antibiotics in animal feed, we’re on the brink of losing antibiotic effectiveness for human illness. And for what? For the profit of agribusiness. To me, that part is criminal.

    To sum up: I guess it’s one thing to close one’s eyes to animal suffering, to say humans eating animals is not so different from nature where animals eat animals, but when we’re talking about climate change and antibiotic resistance, those individual choices don’t only affect individuals, it affects all of us.

    • Jules says:

      You should have written my post. For me, the animal welfare issue is important, but it’s something I’ve known about for a long time so obviously not important enough, right? What shocked me into action is the impact our diet has on the environment, especially biodiversity. How is this good stewardship of what God entrusted with us? You can leave God out of it and make the same argument. Take ocean life, for example, which really just shocked me to the core. You think there will always be fish in the ocean! It’s the ocean! But scientists are now saying that by 2050 (36 years!) the ocean could be nearly empty? What?! That I could live to see a day when there are no fish in the ocean is disturbing. http://www.ted.com/talks/sylvia_earle_s_ted_prize_wish_to_protect_our_oceans

      This is where someone jumps in and says I’m taking things out of context and that these stats are meant to frighten and alarm. Okay, sure. Maybe it is alarmist, but if we as a culture responded to anything aside from clanking bells and hysterical arm waving, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

      My friend was recently diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Obviously, her prognosis is very, very poor. What is everyone (doctors, cancer boards, books, etc.) suggesting she eat? A mainly vegan diet with lots of raw fruits and vegetables. Everywhere I turn, this seems to be the first line of defense against any number of diseases.

      This book had a similar message as that in Dressed to Kill (another book club pick) but the topic, food and animals, is so much more sensitive. It’s one thing to say I won’t buy a t-shirt from Forever 21. It’s quite another thing to say I’ll give up my grandma’s signature dish.

      • Marian says:

        I just watched the ted talk you linked – between that and the book, I think we’re done with fish as well. I don’t think it’s alarmist in the least. I think a lot about the future, and years from now I want to be able to look my children (and possible future grandchildren) in the eye and tell them honestly that we did our very best, that we were presented with the facts and we made changes. We only have one planet, after all…

        I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s diagnosis. That’s heartbreaking… I wish more mainstream doctors were better educated about food and disease. I know my father-in-law gets some terrible advice from his diabetes doctor (and unfortunately we don’t have the kind of relationship where he’d listen to me). At least my mother-in-law (who has suffered from chronic bladder infections for years) has watched the nutritionfacts.org video I mentioned above, and is willing to keep chicken out of the house in an experiment to see if that’s the cause.

        Food is an incredibly sensitive issue, whether it comes down to my father-in-law getting his back up thinking I’m telling him what he should or shouldn’t eat, or people thinking they’re being told they can no longer make “grandma’s signature dish”. I think it all comes down to moderation and a willingness to try new foods. Grandma’s dish can still be on the menu, but maybe the days prior to the special occasion are vegetarian. As you pointed out to Christina above, small changes can have a big impact.

        Many thanks, Jules, for hosting this book discussion. As an aside, if it took you three years to work up to this book, I’d advise you not to read Eaarth. I walked around numb for around two weeks before optimism and hope kicked back in…

        • Phaedra says:

          Good to know about Eaarth. Each time I read something along these lines, I feel like I’ve been kicked while I was down. I will refrain from taking it on so soon after Eating Animals.

        • Jules says:

          Was that not the most alarming video? It makes me so sad.

          • Marian says:

            Apparently I just can’t stop…I’m completely taking you at your word of a few weeks ago when you said you like it when your commenters talk amongst themselves (and to you as well). I do hope I’m not overstepping.

            You might be interested in watching the documentary “The Clean Bin Project”. It’s about a couple in Vancouver trying to live zero waste for one year, and along the way they interview some very interesting people, one of whom is the artist/activist Chris Jordan. He’s created some very powerful imagery regarding consumption and pollution, some of it about plastic in the oceans and on Midway Island. The movie isn’t on Netflix, but iTunes has it available for renting. It was just after I watched it (while still reeling from Eaarth) that our school library had their book fair (like you, I volunteer in the library) and I asked the librarian and my fellow parent volunteer if we could set out only the books and hold back all of the crap (the made in China toys that break if you look at them too hard, the erasers that don’t actually erase, etc etc). They agreed, and as it turned out we had our most successful book fair ever. I felt pretty great about keeping all that plastic crap from being sold. (I wanted to take it even further and make a petition to send to Scholastic to tell them to stop sending us the crap in the first place/make a big sign saying “why no plastic crap?”/have a picture of floating plastic in the ocean to raise awareness…but the librarian and other parent didn’t go for it. I think they think I’m a bit over-zealous).

            Oh Oh Oh…And the makers of the documentary have a new film out about food waste, another big issue. This one’s just been shown in April at the Toronto film festival, so I’m not sure when it’s coming out for general viewing.

            And I think I’ll be quiet now ;)

          • Jules says:

            Don’t be quiet! You’ve been very inspiring and I’ve loved reading all your comments. If you have a list of must read/watch, please share. I’d love your recommendations. <3

      • Samma says:

        I didn’t read the book.
        We try to buy local meats from the farmers and butchers who know the animals we eat, but that doesn’t mean we don’t shop at Kroger (Ralphs in CA) and get meats, eggs and dairy for cheaper. We try, but we’re not perfect.
        But as a diver since 2001, I can tell you emphatically, you can already SEE the trends of over fishing’s impact on the ocean. Others who have been diving significantly longer than I have tell me it’s even worse for them.

        • Jules says:

          I don’t care if anyone has or hasn’t read the book. Everyone can participate, especially in a discussion like this one. <3

          I’m so alarmed by (1) the state of things (you can SEE a difference since only 2001?!?!) and (2) my complicity in all of this. How could I not have known?

  6. Phaedra says:

    I have to start by saying that I’m not vegetarian. I love meat. I grew up in the ‘weird’ family that was doing ‘sustainable’ long before it became a catch phrase. My dad hunted for our meat and made us be a part of that process. The thinking being, ‘if you’re going to eat meat, you need to know where it comes from. Do the work.’ We were also the family that had chickens, turkeys, rabbits (food, not pets) and a humongous garden and every kind of berry growing in our yard. You know, in the suburbs. It was a tremendous amount of work. If I had to hunt/raise animals myself , I wouldn’t be eating meat at all. I know what it takes & I’m far too lazy.

    Move forward to current times. I have a child that eats very little meat (she has never cared for it, but she does love fish. Kids.) and over the past few years I’ve been exposing myself to things like Food, Inc & the writing of Michael Pollan. I found it terribly difficult to watch & read. I’ve modified my shopping & eating habits in recent years, and I still feel some guilt and the question, ‘should I be eating meat at all? Is it worth the costs?’

    Here we arrive at Eating Animals. Clearly not new material and I do agree with the comment above that the audience for this book SHOULD be everyone, but is likely people reading this are already questioning the current state of affairs in the food industry & their habits. The ‘preaching to the choir’ factor is there. Here’s to hoping a few people people from the congregation are reading it though & not tuning out what’s being said.
    I felt that JSF started out with one tone and got very strident & preachy by the end. It turned me off a bit. The information is vital & important, but I got tired of him.

    I loved the part about societal & cultural norms and our sentimentality over certain animals and not others. Yes. Why some & not others? So arbitrary. Humans are weird.
    The writing about the fishing industry was eye opening. I have to be honest, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to fish and now.. ugh. The information regarding the actual breeds of animals, whether or not organic, being 99% genetically modified breed that never existed before the past 60yrs was also rather sickening & was a push to think about not eating any of it.

    My favorite parts of this book were the letters from the various parties involved in the industry (even the factory farmer made some good points). The one that struck home with me the hardest was the turkey farmer. I almost cried. I think I did cry when I shared the letter with some friends (especially the part written about how we fuss about baseball players taking growth hormones, but we put them in our food & then feed them to our kids…. )

    Another quote regarding factory farming from the turkey farmer: ‘It’s wrong. People know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced. They just have to act differently. I’m not better than anyone & I’m not trying to convince people to live by my standards of what’s right. I’m trying to convince them to live by their own.” Amen. Why don’t we live by our own high standards? As Jules wrote, “nothing much surprises you, other than your continued support of factory farming by eating meat. ”

    I don’t like to jump on a bandwagon and proclaim a book to be ‘life changing’, but it’s the last in a long line of information that is prompting me to finally make the bigger jump and go to a vegetarian lifestyle. My kid would embrace it and I would feel better for it (mentally & physically I suspect). I’ve already made the jump to eating less in general (and higher quality organic, local etc). Marian from Canada spoke so eloquently about the changes we all need to make to live in a healthy world..
    animal, vegetable, mineral, we’re all in this together and need to pull our heads out.

    • Jules says:

      From the very little I’ve seen about Eaarth (which I’m going to read, scared or not), it seems like your family was/is the Family of the Future. It seems to be what the author is suggesting we do. It’s how Amanda Soule of Soule Mama (blog) lives, and she used to be vegetarian before she started her farm. Now her “homestead” has pigs, chickens, sheep (for wool), and cows (for milk, as far as I know). She caught huge flack for eating meat again but (1) how she feeds her family is her decision and (2) she produces everything (or nearly everything) they consume. She even uses the lard from the animals to make body products, for Pete’s sake. Can the people criticizing her honestly say they do half as much as she does for the environment? I know I can’t.

      I thought what Marian said was inspiring, a real call to action. She was more inspiring in a lot of ways than JSF. I didn’t find him preachy like so many did, mainly because I was too busy waving my red pen at his 846 rhetorical questions. It seemed like every chapter had at least ten, and towards the end it was one question after another. I rejoiced at the sight of a period.

      And I guess that was the point of his questions. It was a way, I think, to allow the reader to come to their own conclusions. He presents a conundrum and the reader solves it in a way that aligns with their beliefs. My problem is that this only works if the coin isn’t weighted. For example: Do you go to France for the summer, or do you take a sabbatical from work for 6 months? That’s a fair conundrum. Instead, you have questions like: Do you continue to eat meat and ensure the destruction of the earth and leave for future generations a pile of rubble, or do you have that hamburger from the dollar menu at McDonald’s? Questions that have only one answer are rhetorical. So if you think everyone should give up eating meat, fine. Preach it, own it, say it. If I don’t agree, I don’t agree.

      I also agree with you that the letters were some of the best parts of the book. The one letter I had trouble believing was the wife of the cattle farmer. The vegetarian. She seemed to try very hard to sell to herself on what she was really doing. The most compelling line from the book for me came from the letter of the activist. Paraphrasing, it was something along the lines of a miserable existence is worse than a cruel death. I think that sums up factory farming so well.

      I hate the life-changing label, too, but the book has definitely given me much to think about. It’s going to take me a while to process this and come up with some workable solution. I know many who are doing the humane meat approach, but that is outside our budget and difficult for me to follow through. Like he mentions in the book, what happens when we go out? Visit friends? Are guests at business functions? My first thought is that these events are exceptions or rare, but are they really? Birthdays, holidays, school parties…they all add up. Bright line rules work well for a reason. They make life easier in many ways…and they make them harder, too.

      • Phaedra says:

        Starting off on a light note, um, can’t you tell by my weird name and age (ahem) that my parents were hippies? :) I jest, of course. They were and are doing it right. It’s all very clear to me NOW. After growing up with a vitamix for fresh juicing ( {{shudder}} as a child- NOT my favorite thing), no twinkies (the horror!) or the standard snacks & meals other families had, I totally rebelled and refused to learn to do anything domestic. Until I had a child. It all got really clear when I became responsible for the care & feeding of another human. I saw my parents in a whole new light (across the board, but certainly in regards to this topic).

        It is all about having some beliefs, about educating ourselves. Doing the work. I know not everyone will end up on the same side of the argument, but they should all know what the argument is & what’s going on. I think this book does a good job stirring the pot & getting people to think (my hope) about all the questions & consequences.

        Finding workable, reasonable solutions won’t be easy for the holidays, birthdays, social events. I’m not aiming for perfect, but ‘better’. For me, aiming for perfection would lead to becoming overwhelmed & doing nothing.
        I think it was Jade that spoke of the social & cultural essence of sharing meals, breaking bread with the people we love & interact with daily. It’s huge in every culture. We don’t eat with people we don’t care about & ‘rejecting’ an offer of sustenance and love in the form of food will be difficult. I don’t know that I will do that. Perhaps I will choose to eat a vegetarian lifestyle at home and when we are out in the world make the best reasonable decision we can.
        Many in my family (cousins, aunts/uncles, ) already straddle this line, and I live in an area that’s a little hippy dippy in general (Portland) and there are more options when going out. It seems like everyone in this town is local, organic, sustainable, vegan/vegetarian (huge generalization, but it is much more prevalent than the Midwest for example), I should be able to figure it out.
        Thanks for this book club choice. Love all the well thought out commentary going on!
        *oh, and I forgot to add that I agree with your thoughts on Nicollete (?), the vegetarian rancher

  7. Lisa says:

    Have you found a locally sourced meat option? Because I would love to support that and have been looking for one in south OC for the past year and haven’t had any luck. There is the 5Bar Ranch which sells at some local farmers markets (at about $15 a lb for ground beef). I looked into buying half a cow (nearly 200 lbs of meat for about $2000), but I would have to invest in another freezer (and come up with $2000).

    I think there is a real issue in this country of safe, organic, non-shitty food being completely out of reach financially for most people , and maybe that is the point–the cost farming animals imposes on the environment should make meat cost much more, like gas in Europe. I feed a family of five with multiple food issues (we need a venn diagram to make dinner–lactose intolerance, 5 major food allergies, and low carb issues), and I am really struggling to make healthy meals that everyone can eat and that we can afford. The one “format” (for lack of a better word) that everyone in our family can eat is meat + vegetable. One person can’t eat pasta, rice, or bread, so that cuts out cheap and easy just pasta nights or casseroles—although sometimes we have pasta night or pizza night and I cook a separate meal for the low carb eater. I am cooking with lots more beans and lentils and quinoa, which is met with a daily low-level mutiny from the peanut gallery.

    I really want to stop feeding my family crappy meat, but they a) want to eat meat, b) we already spend a lot of money on crappy meat, c) I can’t afford to double or triple what I spend on meat in order to buy organic/sustainably raised meat, and d) not a single person in my family but me is interested in going vegetarian or even eating less meat. I am dragging them with me kicking and screaming.

    • Jules says:

      Everything becomes more challenging when you are the one responsible for feeding the family. Notice that I was a vegan in college? Yeah. I showed up at the school cafeteria. Done. Things changed when I was out in the real world. In a horrible, wouldn’t wish this on anyone, sort of way, the obscene number of terminal cancers that has rocked our inner circle has been MORE THAN ENOUGH to make the idea to switching to vegetarian/vegan less harrowing. When I met my husband, and for years after we were married, he said he needed meat at every meal. Now he is the first to push for being a vegetarian–but he won’t do it unless I’m the college cafeteria. This, I know.

      Andrea (our Andrea) has done a remarkable job sourcing meats and produce. If you don’t already, follow her @gwynethmademedoit instagram account. My suggestion is to view her account on a computer or tablet because girlfriend gets long-winded and writes blog posts of information there. She really is worth the follow and has inspired thousands of people to change their eating habits for the better.

      As far as the price of meat, this is why I think going vegetarian as a family is the way for us because we simply can’t afford to buy a cow or the truly humane meats with any sort of regularity. And, even if we could, we run into the ‘what to do when we’re out of the house’ problem. I can’t very well ask to inspect the kitchen of our hosts, and I know no function at our school will serve pastured chickens and grass-fed cows. I’m laughing at the very idea!

      Gosh, I could write a novel’s worth more, but I’ll stop for now.

      • Marian says:

        OK, just one more comment as I can’t seem to help myself ;)

        I hear you, Lisa, on the kicking and screaming part. For quite a while I felt I was the one being dragged, kicking and screaming, as my daughter – and then about a year later my middle child – decided she/they were vegetarian. I was cooking vegetarian some days and then on other days needing to make sure I had two options. On my bad days I really resented the extra work. I’m lucky in that my husband is not only very easy going (he’s just happy to have a meal when he comes home from work) but has watched his father struggle with health problems (and his two brothers look like they’re heading down the same path). He trusts me to do the research (I’m not a nutritionist but I do have a science background and was a pharmacist before kids) and the big thing for him especially has been learning about the problems with contaminated chicken. Basically, I have read enough passages to him that he is now completely grossed out!

        I love your phrase, Jules – “I am the college cafeteria”. This is us. I’m the one who finds recipes, plans, shops, and cooks (the kids help on most weekends). It’s a lot of work, and there’s many days I’d like to just slide some burgers out of a box and throw them in the oven (it was easier to be a “processed food vegetarian” when we lived in the US as there were more options there; I’m finding here that a lot of stuff is labeled “may contain eggs” and because my middle child is allergic that rules a lot out). For us, the key has been finding recipes – lots of really good vegetarian recipes – and while that’s satisfied my husband and two older children, I have had plenty of complaining from our youngest child (now 9). At times I feel really sorry for him – he’s been dragged along by the whims of his older sister and brother, and by his mother, who can’t seem to stop reading about nutrition – and he has to eat “weird stuff” (his words) like butternut squash and chickpeas over quinoa. I’ve become very matter-of-fact with him: “this is supper, period, the end”, and he always does end up eating what I’ve served. When we go out to eat, which unfortunately for him is not very often, he gets to eat burgers or chicken wings. (And no, I don’t ask the waiter where it’s come from…)

      • Lisa says:

        I have fallen down a gwynethmademedoit rabbit hole for the past 24 hours. What a great resource! Thanks for turning me on to it.

  8. After reading this book, I wanted desperately to change the way I eat. I didn’t see how I could care about the things I care about (social justice, the environment, etc.) and NOT care about this too. But JSF’s point about culture rings so true. To change how I eat would mean to change how everyone around me has to eat (especially with how communal eating is in Thailand) and I’m really not comfortable with that, no matter how socially responsible it might be. It’s complex too: in Thailand, things are a mix of traditional farming and the rise of factory farms and it’s really hard for me to figure out where what is coming from (and Thailand is not great on social justice so I highly doubt it is much better vis a vis animal welfare). That said, we’re visiting the US right now after living abroad for 4 years, and I’ve never seen a chicken breast in Thailand as large as the ones here. I’ve never seen beef so thick and tender. I’ve never seen so much meat served in one portion of a dish at any restaurant. I had forgotten what it’s like to consume meat here.

    I already knew much of what he told us so most of it wasn’t a surprise. Mostly just a reminder to be horrified at the evil with which almost all of us are complicit. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit, though, that for me to change, I need it to be easier to change. I would need better options to be more readily available. The way we eat is such a huge part of our lifestyle (and how we adapt to Thai culture), it’s not as simple as remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store or choosing to bike to work. I say that, and know that convenience ultimately trumps my commitment to not participate in evil. Can I be okay with that? I don’t know.

    • Jules says:

      The Asian culture, from what I have experience in my church family, is similar to the Hispanic culture when it comes to food. It’s deeply traditional and personal, and shunning one thing or another is a grave insult. It’s not easy to take up a diet like this one in a culture that identifies food with love. You do the best you can and feel proud for it.

      How you describe the meats in this country is so disappointing. I’ll never forget when my aunt and cousin visited from Argentina two years ago. They said the same thing, and said our country must be doing something right to produce such tender and generous meat. They were shocked at the size of the chicken breasts. My dad winced and said, “No, it’s actually the opposite. Trust me on this. We’re not doing anything good.”

  9. I haven’t read the book yet, so I probably shouldn’t even participate in this discussion, but the subject is one I struggle with all the time and it’s so good to see the discussion.

    Over the last couple years I’ve been trying (operative word – TRYING) to be better about sourcing meat. I have no interest in being vegetarian, but I also hate the idea of contributing to a system that treats animals so poorly (key distinction – I don’t feel there is anything inherently wrong with eating animals, I do think there is everything wrong with treating living creatures poorly while they live).

    So, I try to source my meat as best I can, which often just means relying on the Whole Foods rating system, which is probably not perfect, but at least is something. In the hierarchy of needs I’m most concerned with animal welfare, then with eating local, so that also means I’m sometimes eating meat shipped in from far away but I’ll take that over poor treatment.

    It is a lot more expensive and it means our meat mostly consists of ground beef and skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs, because those cuts are cheaper and we can afford to purchase them. And I spent upwards of $100 on turkey at Thanksgiving, because I can’t imagine purchasing one of those grocery store turkeys.

    End result – we eat a lot less meat (maybe 2 – 3x per month, when we used to eat it 1-2x per week), we spend more on meat we feel comfortable with (which makes me feel like I’m also supporting people who practice farming in a way that I like) and that makes me feel a little better.

    I still have issues when we go out to eat and I’m SO not perfect. We’re lucky that in LA there are a good number of places that will tell you where they source their meat, which I love. And sometimes I just give up and get a hamburger if we’re at In’n’Out, although at this point I just order vegetarian at every other fast food place (except Chipotle!). But I eat meat at tiny taco stands because I can’t give it up. I will also eat meat at other people’s houses without demanding to know the source, although it makes me uncomfortable. But how do you handle that? Everyone knows I’m not a vegetarian, so I can’t just say that. And I certainly don’t want people to feel like I’m looking down on their food choices/hospitality.

    It’s such an imperfect process for me and sometimes I feel terrible that I haven’t spent more time researching options and figuring out the BEST, most PERFECT way to do this. But then I try to remember that even an imperfect start is better than nothing. Eating less meat is better, choosing meat that is at least not the standard factory farmed stuff is better. This has been a long process of baby steps for me and I think it will continue to be, so I’m just letting myself move at my own pace instead of beating myself up for not getting it all together right away. Is that a cop out? Maybe.

    Honestly, it would be easier to just be vegetarian because then I would have a really clear line and I wouldn’t have to bother tracking down sources. But since I do like eating meat that feels like throwing my hands in the air and giving up, instead of trying to contribute to changing anything (NOT judging anyone for being vegetarian, of course! it just isn’t the right choice for me right now, possibly ever).

    • Marian says:

      For what it’s worth, I understand where you’re coming from when you say going vegetarian would feel like throwing your hands up in the air and giving up, instead of contributing to changing anything. This is exactly what my daughter said a few years ago. She was the one who started our family down this road, declaring out of the blue on a camping trip (she was 11) that she wasn’t going to eat her pork chop. She spent about two years as a vegetarian, before deciding that it was more important for her to support the organic farms that were trying to make a difference. She spent a few years as an omnivore before deciding once again, about a year ago, that she didn’t want to eat any meat at all, and is now trying her best to eat vegan. Interestingly, she was flexible enough – and hungry enough! – on prom night two weekends ago to eat a ham sandwich at a friend’s house, and I’m just now beginning to wonder if she did that so as not to be rude to her host. Foer talks about the exact scenario you raise: what do you do at someone’s house if you’re an omnivore but are opposed to factory farming? Demand to know where your meat came from? And of course, he says no, that that would be considered extremely rude. He too, thinks it’s easier to simply be a vegetarian.

      • Jules says:

        I’m just going to have Marian take over for this post. Hah!

        I was also going to say that I completely understand why you say becoming a vegetarian almost seems like giving up. In a way it is, but I was happy to read in the book that there are vegan groups who are working with farmers to produce humane slaughterhouses. They know not everyone will stop eating animal products, so their goal is to create facilities that are at least ethically and environmentally sound. There is hope.

        But I can’t get past the same dilemma you have about going out. With as social as our culture has become, how much of my time is at home eating my humane meat? If I commit to eating only responsibly sourced meat at home, what percentage of my intake does that reflect when you add up the innumerable social events we all have? 30%? 10%? Less? I don’t know. And now I’m doing the JSF rhetorical questions…

        • Susan g says:

          The farm I mentioned below is the only family farm with its own poultry and beef slaughterhouses. They worked with Temple Grandin to design them.

          • Jules says:

            Susan, in the book he said that finding an ethical slaughterhouse is the biggest challenge the humane farmers face. This is so great to hear about the farm you recommended.

        • Marian, I’ve loved reading your comments in this thread.

          The social dilemma is so difficult! The best thing I’ve found is to bring up the subject as casually as possible when it’s least likely to hurt anyone’s feelings (i.e. not when we’re sitting down to eat). At this point, our family is aware that we only purchase meat with some accountability and that we’re concerned with animal welfare.

          Jules, I actually think we have it a little easier on the social situation front than most people because my sister has been vegetarian for over a decade, so when we have family get togethers they are frequently meatless or have a meatless option. I guess I’m piggybacking on her vegetarianism? More and more of my friends are being pickier about where they buy their meat, so that’s getting easier as well.

          Interestingly, my sister ate meat for the first time in years at Thanksgiving, because she knew that we’d picked the turkey from a farm that raises animals humanely.

          • Jules says:

            I’ve loved reading her comments as well. As time goes on, and with more public knowledge, it will get easier. The price of the meats will stabilize, too. I have so much to learn about all of this, so I’m so happy I finally read the book. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read it, Rachel.

  10. Susan G says:

    I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s next in the stack. I have been looking at fish farms and their issues recently, and in the process stumbled across the Farm Forward website, which as it turns out is associated with Foer. We do not eat meat every day, and we do eat meat that is relatively healthy (for us) – I do not think being vegetarian or vegan is for me. But I really do want to change what we buy and what we consume. For anyone in the southeast US, I strongly recommend White Oak Pastures. I buy their ground beef at our grocery store and just found out I can order from their website. It’s expensive, yes, but I know from using their ground beef that it is so low-fat that very little cooks away, and it truly tastes so much better. White Oak is a fifth-generation family farm that has made some amazing changes to stay true to their vision. Not only is supporting them better for me, my family and the earth – I can feel good helping them flourish. I was buying eggs from a friend until all her chickens were eaten by a fox, and am looking for a new source, but again – I know they were from happy chickens and they tasted better too. Rambling – but wanted to thank you for giving us a way to discuss this.

    • Jules says:

      Thank you for the link to Farm Forward. I hadn’t heard of them before.

      Also, thanks for the recommendation on the meats. I’m going to try to put together a resource list for everyone. Maybe if we all work as a team we can produce something useful!

      p.s. I would love to have chickens, but we aren’t zoned for it. Someone suggested we do it anyway and give eggs to the neighbors to keep them quiet.

      • Susan g says:

        I’d love chickens but they shave to coexist with two gigantic terriers. Not sure about that. We’re allowed to have hens in town but not roosters.

        • Susan g says:

          Darn iPad! Clearly neither the chickens nor the dogs would be shaving!

          • Jules says:

            Haha! I’m legendary when it comes to autocorrect. :) We can have both, but we need a minimum 20,000 SF lot size and the chickens must be at least 50 feet from any residence, excluding the residence on the lot where the chickens are kept. Our lot size is closer to 12,000, I think.

          • Phaedra says:

            Can I just say I loved the autocorrect?! It made me laugh while reading all of this very serious conversing…

  11. J.Lee says:

    in my heart im vegan but in practice i grill. before my husband it was easier, i just went vegan against my family. but now it’s against him, my kids, his family and mine. it gets tiresome. i dont exactly feel good about it. but when im vegan im mostly raw, some warm grains.

    • Jules says:

      I think a lot of people feel the same way you do. I know I do! It’s been easier now that, well, everyone is getting cancer. Funny how that works. :-/

  12. jessica says:

    Hey, I like vegetarianism and veganism, but Im little bit scared of stop eating meat. I think its full of proteins, and people needs to eat meat:/ what do you think guys?:/

  13. Should have mentioned earlier – I’ve found eatwild.com to be helpful when searching for good sources for meat, etc. The website can be a little confusing but they do have a search function that lets you find and read about local farms.

  14. Tanyia says:

    I haven’t finished reading the book (about halfway through and a day late to this conversation!) but what I’ve read so far has been really informative. I would say eye-opening, but there was a lot about the process of factory farming that I was already aware of honestly. Truthfully, the most eye-opening portion of this book for me was about the fish. I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me the way fish are being fished for people to eat. (I don’t eat or buy much fish, so that might be the culprit there.)

    I think that it’s disturbing, what the animals are made to go through in many instances, and we see quite a bit of factory farming (especially of cattle) out here in Texas that I was certainly never exposed to growing up my whole life in California.

    I’ve never flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, because frankly I enjoy eating meat too much. I have the unique opportunity, as the wife of a butcher, to know exactly where all of our meat is coming from – and the chance to buy it at a wholesale price which is absolutely appealing – especially in our economy and with the price of meat these days.

    And truthfully, even if I wanted to flirt with the idea of being a vegetarian or vegan now, it’s not likely due to a handful of complications and issues. For starters, and this is a big one, my family is just chock-full of food allergies. Honey, nuts, melons, pineapples, the list goes on. That makes it difficult to commit to an eating plan that would further limit our food choices.

    Before reading this book (the portion I’ve read anyways) my husband and I were working to educate our children on what sorts of meats we wanted to buy and how we wanted the animals treated in order for us to buy them. This book has only encouraged me to continue this course of action and raise children that are educated and aware – instead of children that can claim to lack knowledge and therefore accountability.

  15. Andrea Howe says:

    Oh boy, where to begin? I think for sake of brevity and to keep myself from sounding like I’m on a soap box, I’ll just say to anyone else interested in eating a different way, sourcing their meat more humanely, you can help offset the cost by looking into a local CSA (community supported agriculture) to get your meat from. I belong to a beef CSA and a chicken/pork CSA here in Southern California, and I couldn’t be happier with the quality, taste, and the knowledge in knowing I’m supporting farmers who are raising their animals humanely. Yes, it is still expensive, don’t kid yourself, but you cut down on meat consumption, you eat smaller portions, you do what you’ve gotta do to help offset the costs. Conventionally farmed meat has stayed consistently low in price when compared to other food items and just inflation in general. There’s a reason behind all that including intense GMO farming and government subsidiaries, all so we can eat more meat and have this perverse love of bacon. I had a startling aha moment when I realized that my latte from Peet’s costs more than a slab of bacon. Some roasted coffee beans was costing more than an animals life, and that’s when I realized this shit’s not right. We have become addicted to cheap and convenient in this country, and we have shifted our priorities so we can afford to eat cheap meat 7 days a week because it’s easy to fix and it “tastes good”, meanwhile we pay a fortune on all these activities for our kids to be involved in, and spend $5 on fancy coffee drinks. Once you shift your priorities, it all balances out. The money we spend on eating out (much) less alone helps offset the cost. Crap, I said I wasn’t gonna get on a soapbox. Also Jules, in all the research I’ve done after reading this book, it seems his 99% factory farmed stat may be a tad overstated, and it may fall in line more around the 80-90% range, because of current shifts and the way the government classifies CAFO’s Not that it matters much, but I always found that stat a little troublesome, like he used it for shock value and fear mongering. I will stop now.

    • Marian says:

      I think you raise some excellent points. Factory farmed meat is indeed kept at artificially low prices due to subsidies, etc. I believe this is the case for processed food as well, due to corn subsidies. I can’t remember now if it was Food, Inc. or another documentary (I’ve watched too many to keep them all straight) which profiled a family trying to shop, and finding they could much more easily afford fast food hamburgers than vegetables and fruit. Another problem for people living very marginally is “food deserts” – areas in the US (likely Canada too) where people simply don’t have reasonable access to healthy food. There are convenience stores stocking processed crap, but to actually make an attempt to eat healthy? Good luck with that. It’s sad, and it’s wrong. I wholeheartedly agree that we as a society, and as individuals, have our priorities screwed up. While acknowledging there are many families out there barely getting by as is, there are also many of us who could easily shift our spending priorities, just as you said.

      I have given a lot of thought to the whole soapbox issue (if I can call it that?). I wonder, during WW II, if you wasted something that could have been used for the war effort, or if you didn’t bother growing a “Victory Garden” (in England), did you face social repercussions? Were you told to smarten up and get with the program? Fast forward to today: obviously some will deny it’s happening, but if you choose to believe the vast majority of scientists, our planet is in dire straits. When does the soapbox cease to be a negative thing? In other words, how bad do things have to get before it’s no longer politically incorrect or considered the height of rudeness to approach someone in the grocery store and ask them why they feel the need to buy a 30-case of bottled water? Is there a local “boil water advisory” that I’m unaware of? (Clearly this is a pet peeve of mine. I sometimes wonder how on earth we – who are now adults – survived our childhoods without bottled water…).

      (Sheepishly steps down from soapbox…)

    • Lauren says:

      Hey Andrea,
      I also live in Southern California, and I’d love to know the names of your meat CSAs, if you’d care to share!
      -Lauren

  16. Andrea Howe says:

    And to anyone interested, I have an Instagram account where I talk a lot about this kind of stuff :) @gwynethmademedoit

  17. Torey says:

    I haven’t read the book, but I just wanted to mention that you can get humanely raised chickens even at Walmart these days. This brand is carried at our local store and it runs about 1.67 a pound for a whole chicken (which is about double a Tyson), but you can certainly do a lot with a whole chicken and it is cheaper than just buying breasts. http://www.harvestlandbrand.com/family-farmers/

  18. Kate says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot – largely in the context of your lost followers when you mentioned going vegan. I think people are just burnt out on the food proselytizing (or maybe that’s just me). I’m not saying I disagree with you – I’m a big believer in limiting meat buying sustainably and ethically grown food, and considering the long term environmental ramifications of our actions today – but I also think there is a line between passion and zeal. It seems as if a lot of people are switching from the internal “I love this so much” sharing to external “Everyone needs to be eating this way” preaching.

    You aren’t doing that at all, but I think because so many do – once you start talking of eliminating (meat, dairy, gluten, sugar) the assumption is that you’ve been assimilated.

  19. Leigh Kramer says:

    I went out of town the day of this discussion so I’m late to the party but I wanted to say I enjoyed reading the book and reading through this discussion. I didn’t think I had much left to learn about the ethics of eating animals but the poultry section was more than eye opening. I also liked that he included essays from other folks in the trenches so we could have insider perspectives, though I was surprised to read criticism of Polyface Farm and Michael Pollan. I would be curious to know whether it’s substantiated criticism. Over the last few years I’ve moved toward buying organic meat, while knowing it’s an imperfect label, and occasionally buying meat directly from farmers but this book has convinced me to start paying regular visits to the farmers and our local butcher.

  20. Shaina says:

    Oompf. This book took me so much longer to read than I expected. At first, I was simply procrastinating. Once I really started reading however, I had to take breaks to recover from what I was learning and to process the information. The only section that didn’t bother me much was the section on beef, most likely because he wasn’t able to research/write much about the processing.
    The processing is what gets me. Learning about the factory norms and acceptable standards for processing chicken & pork absolutely had an effect on me. Learning that industry standards and regulations are created by people with monetary investment completely blew me away.
    The killing of an animal so that I can enjoy the flavors (and company) that come with its meat – that doesn’t bother me. I cannot say from personal experience, but I’d like to believe that if I were required to kill any animal I intended to eat, that I would do it. Personal experience changes people though, so that’s likely to turn out differently.
    My dilemma now that I’ve learned what I’ve learned:
    What will I do about my consumption of chicken & pork for meals which I share with Sweetie?
    Separate meals are not an option. Part of what is special about our dinners spent together is that we are sharing the same meal.
    Buying the higher priced pasture-raised & ethically slaughtered meat would mean a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of meat in our meals – which would be fine if it was only me but I’d be dragging Sweetie against her will and that bodes well for no one.
    So right now I’m at an impasse. It’s only been a week but we’ve already had a few scuffles. Neither of us knows how to resolve it. Neither of us wants to budge.

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.