Jonathan Safran Foer on Not Eating Meat

A preview of this Sunday's New York Times Magazine "food issue": Writer Jonathan Safran Foer on not eating meat, an excerpt from his upcoming book Eating Animals.


it's so annoying when wanna-be veg people say "i am vegetarian but i sometimes eat fish and meat..."

i chose veg in 1976 and NEVER ate another dead animal again. in 1999, i went vegan. vegetarian is not enough. FOER, go vegan for the planet and for greater kindness to animals. the egg and dairy industry TORTURES animals.


Perhaps not all people are vegetarian for the same reason that you are vegan. I am vegetarian because I feel that the meat industry and agra-business are bad, not because I am against eating animals. I eat free-range meat that my grand-parents buy directly from our farmer. I can see the past three generations of cows that the beef came from. I also eat the fish my dad catches and so on. Be respectful of other peoples right to choose how they wish to eat, especially when they are conscious enough to give up meat part of the time.


Dear Sunflower,
You are confused AND ignorant. You are also NOT a vegetarian. You eat the slaughtered flesh of creatures more wise than yourself. Please gather a brain before you expound on your stupidity.


I made it almost through your not particularly enlightening piece but then got stuck on the following sentence: "Why doesn’t a horny person have as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to confining, killing and eating it?" Do you really think rape is about being horny? about sex?


Dear mother earth,
It's unfortunate, as you wax lyrical about someone else's stupidity, that you don't first check yourself to see if you're exhibiting any undesireable traits. It is unlikely that the animals of which you speak are in fact more wise or capable of exhibiting more wisdom than a fully realised human being. And indeed, sunflower said nothing of which was deserving of such a negative response.

I am vegetarian. I don't eat meat. Sunflower sometimes does. Ergo, yes you're right. She's not vegetarian in the strictest sense. But she is making conscious choices about her eating habits and that is a beginning and a very important step. Who are you to dictate what someone else's journey through the world ought to be?

The universe has given us free will and although it makes the evolution of the human species slow at times, it is a mandatory part of our growth.

Your response adds nothing to that growth. It impedes by adding to the growing judgementalism and negativity already prevalent in the world and the environmental movement of which I am a part. There is nothing - I say absolutely nothing - more counterproductive than vegans telling vegetarians that they're part of the problem and that they're not good enough. And vegetarians telling people who make sustainable meat choices that they're part of the problem and that they're stupid.

Be a hope spreader and an enabler, rather than a judger. It gets you further and does more collective good.


While I found Foer's piece a lovely examination of his family dynamics, it should not have been titled "Against Meat" or taken as any kind of informative discussion about vegetarianism.

The last paragraph about eating pork says it all: “If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save.”

Amen to that.

Sadly, Foer doesn't take his own advice. Like so many people who think wearing the label of "vegetarian" makes them hip and edgy, Foer is only barely persuasive.

I admire him for raising his children as vegetarians and letting them choose, but as he is not a vegetarian himself I don't really see the point. Children model their parents behavior, and he's modeling a life of eating meat.

I guess I don't really see the point he's trying to make here. There are no decisions made, no resolutions, and nothing profound is arrived at. He tells a good story, but that's all it is...a story.


My comment on all of this is very simple. I DO believe eating meat is wrong. Why do animals die? It's for humans' pleasure. Just because they are the lower life doesn't mean people should kill them and eat them. I believe we should protect them. It is very much torture to kill an animal. It is very much the same as seeing a helpless baby on the side of the road. It can cry and beg for someone to pick it up and to carry it but someone could walk right by that baby and barely notice it.
It's the same with animals. They cannot protect themselves so why not protect them? Why can we not make a stand? I am fourteen years old. I have been a vegitarian for four years. I love animals and plan that the rest of my life will be spent saving them and making a stand for them!
Why does it matter that animals cannot function the way we do? Why does it matter that they cannot speak with us?
I do realize that in the Bible it says that humans can eat meat but no where in the Bible does it say that we HAVE to.
Please do not think i do not know what i am talking about simply because of my age. I have studied this matter for years and have looked at both sides and through it all i still believe killing animals is wrong.
Please do not think i am being insulting to anyone. i just want people to understand. I want to get through to them.
In fact very soon i am going to be making a speech. I will explain how i believe that animals have the right to live. I hope many people will join me in this.
Please help me to help animals. Talk to your friends. Tell them how eating animals is wrong. Talk to groups of people. Anyone and anything can help.
I do explain better of my beliefs in my speech. Please help me, for the sake of the animals.


Also, Mary Ann i do not believe that rape is about sex or being horny. I believe someone does it for power. I believe it is the same with killing animals.


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