I recently had the opportunity to see Jonathon Safran Foer talk at the Dangerous Minds festival. I have since begun reading his book "Eating Animals" and would recommend it to anyone questioning vegetarianism - whether you already are, are thinking to become or are simply conscious of the amount of meat being consumed in wealthy societies. This book takes a refreshing look at meat eating in modern society arguing it shouldn't necessarily be an all or nothing debate, but rather that we should be more honest with ourselves about our eating habits and in turn the effect we are having on our environments.
Another great initaitive I recently came across is "Meatless Mondays". There are a couple of great short clips about Meatless Mondays found at
Meatless Mondays clips state that if all Americas didn't eat meat just one day of the week it would be like taking half a million cars off the road and would prevent 1.4 billion animals from being factory farmed. The short you tube clips and corresponding website http://www.humanesociety.org/forms/meatfree_recipe_subscriptions.html are a great way to get motivated and informed about eating less meat. There is also an Australian humane society page - check it out at http://www.hsi.org.au/
The message from both sources is the same - you don't have to become a strict vegetarian and commit to a life without meat to make a positive change.
Like many others, Jonathan Safran Foer spent his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood—facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child’s behalf—his casual questioning took on an urgency. This quest ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong.
This book is what he found. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir, and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many stories we use to justify our eating habits—folklore and pop culture, family traditions and national myth, apparent facts and inherent fictions—and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting.
Marked by Foer’s moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the humor and style that made his previous books, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Foer’s latest tour de force informs and delights, challenging us to explore what is too often conveniently brushed aside. A celebration and a reckoning, Eating Animals is a story about the stories we’ve told—and the stories we now need to tell.
If you've already read Eating Animals, you know that factory farming - which accounts for virtually all meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants - is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment. Changing the way our food is produced begins with us; with the choices we make every day. Here are 10 things you can do to make a difference:
- Read Eating Animals and ask your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.
- In the words of Farm Forward: Eat conscientiously-as few animals as possible, ideally none. More than 99 percent of animal products are produced under factory farm conditions.http://www.farmforward.com/farming-forward/food-choices
- Support pending state and federal legislation to improve standards for farms. Learn more about legislation aimed to improve conditions for farm animals [http://www.hsus.org/farm/camp/legislation.html] and legislation that addresses the effects of farms on our environment [http://www.waterkeeper.org/ht/d/Contents/cids/275,1383/pid/201] and...].
- Tell Congress that you want to support alternatives to factory farming. Every year, agribusiness receives billions of dollars in subsidies and grants that make factory farming possible.http://fdn.actionkit.com/cms/sign/Factory_Farm_Bailout/#1
- Have a conversation with the people who produce your food. If you aren't allowed to see where your food comes from, you probably shouldn't be eating it. http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home
- Stay informed about current issues in the fight for more humane and sustainable farming. Sign up to receive newsletters from groups like Farm Forward http://www.farmforward.com and the Humane Society of the United States http://hsus.org/You can also follow many of your favorite groups on Twitter.
- Spread the word! Talk about Eating Animals with your friends, family and colleagues, and encourage them to read up on and these important issues themselves.
- Support organizations working for change. Check out Jonathan's favorite organizations.
Buy products from the most progressive farmers in America (suppliers such as Feather and Bone
here in Sydney). Sustainable Table's Eat Well Guide http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home
provides an extensive list of small farmers. We also encourage you to support Frank Reese, whose Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch is featured in Eating Animals. http://www.reeseturkeys.com/
Organize your friends and family to place large orders from progressive farmers. For small farmers like Frank Reese, shipping is by far the most expensive aspect of bringing their products to your table. By placing large orders together with your friends, family and colleagues, anyone can afford to eat the most humane and sustainable products in America.