This book is a full-out assault on the ethics and principles of eating meat. Foer is one of the most talented novelists that I’ve read in the past decade, and he’s a very compelling writer. This book is a bit of why he’s become vegan himself, as well as an attack on industrial ranching and meat production, not to mention an illustration of the many ways we’re cruel to the animals that we eventually eat.
I’m not a vegetarian (or vegan) myself, although I’m trending that way. It used to be that I’d have meat for every meal — now as a family, we tend to eat vegetarian at home at least half the time. (We probably eat salmon 30% of the rest of the time, and chicken the remainder.) We’ve been looking for more recipes that use garbanzo beans and black beans — found some good ones, especially Indian dishes.
In any case, intellectually, I’m pretty sympathetic to Foer’s arguments here, and wholly in agreement that industrial ranching is a very bad development. In practice, I still eat meat that’s produced like that. I tend to think we’d be healthier with more vegetables compared to meat, it would be more sustainable globally, and would be overall ethical. I’m not quite the guy I want to be in this regard yet, but this was a good book to remind me about how I’d like to be.