After my serious library fail last month, I finally got the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer a couple weeks ago. Of course, it’s now two weeks past due. I swear, one day I will borrow a book from the library, finish it in the 3 weeks (or whatever) I am allotted, and return it on time. Until then though, the Metropolitan Library System will continue to make money off me. I suppose the late fees are still cheaper than buying the books, but I digress.
The book actually sat on my night stand for about a week before I worked up the courage to crack it open. I think I was afraid of what I might learn from it. It really is a fantastic read, and to be perfectly honest, it’s the first book (or media outlet of any kind) to make me seriously consider a vegetarian lifestyle.
I think a great deal of the influence this book had for me is in its tone. Foer isn’t preachy. He doesn’t tell you what you should, or should not, be eating or doing. His approach is much more philosophical. He presents a great deal of facts that make a great case for vegetarianism, but he also offers opposing points of view. I felt like Foer, more than any other author I’ve read, lets you come to your own conclusions.
This is not to say that going forward I am a vegetarian. First, and foremost, I’m not a fan of labels. I feel that labels put us in a box which restricts our potential, and I have always resisted applying any label to any aspect of myself: style, sexuality, personality, etc. Beyond that, I can’t guarantee I will never eat meat again. Maybe as I reduce my meat consumption even further, I’ll learn that I don’t like meat as much as I’ve been convinced (by myself, society, and the meat industry) I do, and maybe another bite of meat will never cross my lips. Or maybe I will decide I miss steak or that I want a piece of chicken or I can’t live without sushi.
What this is to say is that going forward I will be focusing on eating primarily vegetarian meals, even more so than I do now. Should I decide to eat meat, I will commit the extra time and money to buy meat that is local, organic, high quality, and more ethically raised and processed.