See, I never read book jackets. I always either buy by author, as in this case, or by recommendation or reviews. And everything listed for the Man Booker Prize. If nothing else is available, I just look at the cover. If I like the artwork, I get the book. Basic rule here: never buy a paperback with raised title printing, that feels relief-like. And I usually enjoy the books selected, even if I know nothing of author and content.
This time, I made a mistake. Or did I?
Don’t get me wrong, “Eating Animals” is an excellent book. But it literally is about eating animals. And the way, it related all facts about animal treatment for food production, makes it impossible for me, to eat meat any longer. Everything Jonathan Safran Foer says, one has read or heard somewhere before and pushed it out of ones conciousness. He somehow puts it together in a way, I can’t escape any longer, if I still want to look myself in the mirror every day. He managed to link this topic to my own humanity, by the way he relates his stories about food production and what it has come to. What I, too, allow it to become.
Whenever I was confronted with news of animal abuse or atrocious documentaries about animal mass production and slaughter, I always eased myself back into my omnivore eating habits, by convincing myself, that this is a one-off occurrence, that here in Europe it can’t be as bad. Sure, it might not be as bad as it is in the U.S., but I have to acknowledge, that it is getting to it pretty fast. Just look at the low prices for meat. That alone indicates, how bad it has already become.
But then again, I come from a rural environment. We lived with the animals that were killed and put on our plate. And I can not fathom, how anybody in their right minds is able to “produce” meat in a way and on a scale described in “Eating Animals”. It makes my insides revolt. I can not eat such meat any longer.
But I crave meat. I don’t have to have it every day, but find it extremly difficult to forgo completely. It was plain to see, that I can’t keep up a vegetarian lifestyle for very long.
I spent the last two days looking for alternatives. Butchers who sell meat of farmers, who treat their animals right. Luckily, I found one, called Neuland. This farmers keep to a code of ethical husbandry. So I don’t have to turn vegetarian. But, as I didn’t have the opportunity yet, to visit the farms myself, to check on this certain farming organisation, and see for myself, how they keep their own rules and their certificates’ promises, I can’t be sure. But confident enough, for the time being.