Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals
is a must read for anyone interested in the ethics of food, regardless of whether or not you are a vegetarian. Though I've since lapsed back into my omnivorous ways, this is the book that made me - an unapologetic meat lover - switch to a vegetarian diet cold turkey (hehe) when I was in high school. Recently, needing to reevaluate my priorities, I decided to pull this off the shelf and dust it off. And once again, it's done the trick. The second time around, I was surprised at its staying power and the relevancy of Safran Foer's arguments.
He poses certain questions in this book that have stuck with me over the years. I wonder if I crave meat by instinct or if I crave it because I grew up eating it. I wonder, as he does, whether or not my kids (hypothetical kids, here) would crave a burger if they smelled it on the grill, having been raised vegetarians. I wonder, as climate change becomes a more pressing issue with each passing year, if eating meat is ethically and morally defensible - not only for the animals involved, but for the welfare of the planet and the 7 billion people who live here. It’s not a perfect book and by now much of its revelations are common knowledge, but it is accessible, thought provoking, and worth a read.