Unless you’re a militant animal rights activist, Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2009 book Eating Animals probably doesn’t ring any cowbells. For better or worse, the PETA-inspired hackjob on animal agriculture is now available in French book stores.
Foer doesn’t take kindly to people eating animals, and he scorns the farmers who raise them. One U.S. (self-described) vegetarian reviewer called the book “a screed against factory farming,” noting that it read like a PETA playbook.
Now Foer’s diatribe is poised to become America’s most entertaining export to France since Jerry Lewis. The Atlantic describes how the French have spit the book out like rotten escargot:
[I]f he had spent three more years investigating agriculture, doubtless he would have stopped eating vegetables, too … he would have therefore written a book even more surprisingly titled “Should We Really Eat?” (Adrien Gombeaud writing in Les Echos)
[It’s] an illusion to believe we can feed ourselves without killing—animals or vegetables. (Rafaële Rivais in Le Monde)
Should all meat-eaters feel ashamed? “Definitely not!” … The whole controversy surrounding meat “is a lot of noise.” (Genevière Cazes-Valette in Le Nouvel Observateur)
You don’t need a translator to understand that Foer’s is a meatless argument. Food choices are universally more about cultural identity than some tortured logic exercise. Which is exactly why omnivores overwhelmingly reject animal-rights diets—even those promoted by la Humane Society des États-Unis.