I recently read a wonderfully enlightening book thanks to a recommendation from the lovely Heather of After the Harvest. It is called Eating Animals and is written by the very talented Jonathan Safran Foer. Whether you eat meat or not, if you are human being living on the planet earth you need to read this book.

I consider myself pretty informed about my food and am what the author describes as a selective omnivore – one who eats meat but attempts to limit that meat to ethically treated animals. Even so, this book opened my eyes about the true nature of our food system and factory farms. The book looks at the industry of fish, poultry, pig and cow farming and slaughter with interesting points and speculation about why we eat the animals we do (why pig but not horse, cow but not dog?) and how social behaviours play into what we eat.

The truth about where our meat comes from is chilling.

The inhumane and constant torture that the animals that ‘live’ on factory farms are subject to is about the most horrible and disgusting thing I can think of. From a life in an overcrowded, disease filled factory where animals are abused and mutilated on a constant basis, to a death in a slaughter facility where poorly trained staff often skin and cut apart animals that are still alive. And that’s only the half of it.

The environmental repercussions of these factory farms are staggering. Imagine the entire populations of Texas and California not having proper sewage treatment facilities… that is exactly what it is like every day as factory farms to not have a safe and effective way of to deal with the waste that the tens of thousands of animals they house create every single day. This is why I say that even if you do not eat meat, as a human living on this planet, this food system still impacts you.

Read this book. It’s hard to get through – I was almost in tears at several points. But it will ignite in you a passion to learn more about what you are putting into your mouth and the mouths of your friends and family. This book, although written by a vegetarian, does not necessarily advocate becoming one – but does make a strong case for changing our food system so that all people have access to animals who have lived a good life and have met with a fast death that is as pain free as possible.

Trust me – you will not look at those Loblaws pork chops the same way again.