Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Eating Animals

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Eating Animals

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2009, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2010, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson

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Factory Farm Alternatives
Foer suggests that meat lovers who don't want to support factory farms consider patronizing small family farms rather than buying grocery store meat, which has been produced by factory farms. The products offered by these small farmers tend to be pricey, but these producers say that their animals live most of their lives outdoors, pain-free, with access to high quality food and water. Foer, who is a vegetarian, doesn't consider them perfect (and he says that some practices, like castrating pigs, are still unacceptable to him), but he finds them to be admirable alternatives for those who choose to eat meat.

Profiled in Eating Animals, Frank Reese's Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch (Kansas) features free-range poultry and American Heritage Turkeys. Niman Ranch (California), also featured in the book, is a producer of beef, pork, lamb and poultry, although the company does not appear to be as ethically run as it was when founder Bill Niman was in charge (more on this at SFGate and Wikipedia).

The following are not mentioned by Foer, but are resources for alternatives to factory farm-produced meat, dairy, and eggs:

  • Lasater Grassfed Beef (Colorado) - Their beef is antibiotic and hormone-free, and (according to the website) the cattle "spend their entire lives grazing in open pastures and are never confined in feedlots or fed grain."
  • Born Free Organic Free Range Eggs (Massachussetts) - Their hens "live in a cage-free home with access to fresh air and the outdoors."
  • Search for Animal Welfare Approved farms across the U.S.
  • Local Harvest helps you find local family farmers and farmers' markets in your area.
  • The Eat Well Guide helps you find sustainable and organic restaurants, markets, and products in your area.
  • For more information on how you can get involved in promoting family farms, visit Foer's resources page.

    Article by Cindy Anderson

    This article was originally published in January 2010, and has been updated for the September 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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