by Jonathan Safran Foer – $16.99
This is a wonderfully written book for anyone who wants to make informed choices about their diet. Typically people choose price over quality, and readily look to meat for their source of protein, but reading this book may well change people’s minds.
Foer wrote the book after his son was born as he became more and more curious and concerned about what his son would be eating. He recalls stories of his own childhood, showing how everyone’s family culture plays out in our food choices. He particularly describes a wonderful grandmother who was always encouraging him to “eat, eat, eat”
Based on lots of first-hand research about the differences between family and factory farms, including how most animals are raised, slaughtered and brought to market, Foer shows the effects of big corporations and how they are a large factor in the food that reaches our markets. It’s not a pretty picture, which makes the fact that family farming is rapidly being replaced by factory farming quite alarming.
Foer tells us that the first poultry factory farming began accidentally. Apparently a producer was shipped 500 chickens instead of the 50 that had been ordered…and that was only the beginning!
Foer’s chapters on Factory Farming are at times unsettlingly graphic as he writes about the conditions the animals are subjected to as they are raised, slaughtered and brought to market. Even though factory farms have government inspectors to ensure that “humane and healthy” rules are practiced, it appears that much is missed.
The health of workers working in unsanitary conditions is also explored as is the health of people living nearby and the bad effect the runoff from these factory farms have on the surrounding environment. Of particular concern are the antibiotics used by factory Farms to stop the spread of disease due to overcrowding and very unhealthy conditions. The overuse of antibiotics is polluting our water and the food we eat, causing serious health concern to humans. This practice continues in spite of the fact that every leading health organization, including the World Health Organization, has asked that this practice be stopped. All one can do is shake one’s head and ask, “What will it take for change to occur?”
The reader’s concern mounts even further as Foer describes the global implications of the growth of Factory Farms, especially given the problem of food borne illnesses, antimicrobial resistance and potential pandemics. His facts are genuinely terrifying. Where does it end?
Not everyone wants to be a vegetarian, but, at the very least, this book makes one want to consider purchasing meat from local and small producers rather than from Factory Farms.
The next book for the P’lovers Book Club is “Stones Into Schools” by Greg Mortenson.
Tags: P'lovers Book Club