When even a vegetarian calls your anti-meat book a “screed,” you know you’re in trouble. But that’s just what happened in today’s Washington Times review of Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, Eating Animals. As reviewer A.G. Gancarski puts it, Foer’s book is lacking some flesh on its bones:
This ersatz provocation is a way for the author to demonstrate our need for a "better way to talk about eating animals" … [but it really] is a screed against factory farming, predicated on a soupcon of first-hand research, and a compendium of arguments familiar to those who have seen the output of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals through the years …
[T]he author likens boycotting factory farms to the "Montgomery Bus Boycott," an absurd analogy that does a grave disservice to the civil rights movement itself. In exposing his real agenda, Mr. Foer gives the reader insight into what kind of book this is. It is one for those who need assurance that they are making the "correct," house-intellectual-approved dietary choices.
Looking deeper into Foer’s agenda, it all makes sense. Foer is a board member of the animal rights group “Farm Forward,” and worked closely with the group in writing his book. Who else is involved with Farm Forward, you might ask? For starters, Bruce Friedrich, the violence-promoting vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Then there’s Ben Goldsmith, who “tweets” for Farm Forward and is a former long-time PETA employee. And Miyun Park, former vice president of the animal-rights group Humane Society of the United States.
With company like that, there was never any chance this book would be anything other than a PETA-inspired hack job on livestock farming. When ideology triumphs substance, readers are left to agree with Gancarski that Eating Animals is “an ambitious project, three years in the writing, but not one that the gifted prose stylist is up to.”