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Eating Animals

Eating Animals
Jonathan Safran Foer at Barnes & Noble Union Square to discuss his book Eating Animals
Author Jonathan Safran Foer
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
Pages 352 pages (hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0316069906
LC Class TX392 .F58 2009

Eating Animals is the third book by the American writer Jonathan Safran Foer, published in 2009. It is a work of non-fiction.


Foer explores the topics of factory farming and commercial fisheries. He examines topics such as by-catch and slaughterhouse conditions, saying that Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 26 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp they collect, and that in American slaughterhouses, cows are consistently "bled, dismembered, and skinned while conscious." Foer claims that factory farming possibly accounts for more than 99% of all animals used for meat, milk or eggs. He also explores the health risks which pervade American factory farming, including the claims that H1N1 originated in a North Carolina factory farm, and that 98 percent of American chicken is infected with campylobacter or salmonella at the time of consumption.

Foer also examines the cultural meaning of food, beginning with the experience of his own grandmother, who survived the Holocaust, with a lifelong obsession over food. Foer mentions childhood stories, like spending Thanksgiving dinners at his aunt and uncles' home. He builds on and ultimately criticizes the work of Michael Pollan on our relationship to the food we eat.

Finally, Foer examines humane agricultural methods, and the divide between animal rights and animal welfare. He provides information on the environmental effects of factory farming, and the changes in agricultural methods over time.

Critical reception

Eating Animals received mixed reviews. Some reviewers, such as New York and The Washington Post, were put off by Foer's safe conclusions. The Washington Post article comments on Foer's "sometimes-sanctimonious attitude and same over-the-top writing". [1] The New York article notes that Foer "settles on the safest possible non-conclusion," deeming the book "deeply irritating". [2] While The New York Times Book Review was ambivalent about the efficacy of Foer's arguments,[3] the Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker reviewed Eating Animals favorably, lauding both the conclusions Foer reaches and how he reaches them.[4][5] In an article for the Huffington Post, Natalie Portman explains that "Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals changed me from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist."[6]


  1. Yonan, Joe (2009-11-22). "Jonathan Safran Foer's animal farm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  2. Anderson, Sam (2009-11-01). "'Eating Animals,' by Jonathan Safran Foer". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  3. Kakutani, Michiko (2009-11-19). "'You Know That Chicken Is Chicken, Right?'". The New York Times. p. c25. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  4. Reynolds, Susan Salter (2009-11-08). "'Eating Animals' by Jonathan Safran Foer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  5. Kolbert, Elizabeth (2009-11-09). "Flesh of your flesh". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  6. Portman, Natalie (2009-10-27). "Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals turned me vegan". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 

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