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Eating Animals Summary

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Eating Animals PDF SummaryThis is a controversial topic that should be brought up more and more. In our humble opinion, one must at least be willing to hear the other side of the story, without necessarily showing bias.

Eating animals is part of human history, but what would happen if we at least ponder about the possibility of ending the mass slaughter?

Let’s find out!

Who Should Read “Eating Animals”? And Why?

If you are not vegan and vegetarian, this book may cause some confusion in terms of your life choices. The author is not here to promote guilt or any other primitive form of conversion; just to lay down the facts and give you wide latitude to decide.

With that being said, we firmly believe that “Eating Animals” is one of those books which is intended for the broader audience.

About Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist born on February 21st, 1971 in Washington, DC.

So far, Eating Animals is his best book that prompts open discussion regarding the proliferation of factory farms.

He is also the author of a few Fiction Books:

  • Everything Is Illuminated (2002)
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005)
  • Tree of Codes (2010)
  • Here I Am (2016)

“Eating Animals PDF Summary”


Surviving the atrocities of WW2 is surely not something that can be put underneath the carpet. Jonathan talks of his grandmother and her perilous journey to safety filled with rather “questionable” diet made of rotten potatoes, scraps of meat, and even the kind of things you wouldn’t want to hear of.

When you are on the run, and you are traversing the hostile wilderness in Europe there’s not much you can do other than eating on the go. Whatever you can find finds its way into your mouth.

Half-a-century later in the US, Jonathan’s grandmother excelled at preparing chicken, and pretty much everything else under God’s blue heaven. She wasn’t into “save money” or “eat healthy” kind of agenda, and she would often offer Coke to her grandson.

In closed circles, she was known as the Greatest Chef, ever to set foot on Earth.

The father Journey

UNEXPECTED IMPULSES STRUCK WHEN I found out I was going to be a father. I began tidying up the house, replacing long-dead lightbulbs, wiping windows, and filing papers.

Fatherhood wasn’t an overnight sensation, as it was hard for one to grasp that moment of transition. It gave him an immediate stimulus to find life in different forms that were usually discarded.

He packed his imaginary bags and went on in pursuit of truth.

The author recalls his early experiences with a babysitter who didn’t want to hurt anything – not even chicken. This unprovoked and unsuccessful conversion to vegetarianism marked a new era – although not a very fruitful one.

Then, after graduating from college and being exposed to a good number of ups and downs in his life; he met a woman. What shocked him the most was the fact that her story resembled his own. It was strange that this new “stranger” who swooped into his life had the “vegetarianism” though on her mind too.

During the wedding ceremony, the guests weren’t deprived of the delicious meat, as they thought that it’s only fair to feed them.

However, on their honeymoon in Japan, the freshly married couple subdued the urge to eat meat. Back home, they did from time to time eat burgers and have tuna steaks.

A bit later, a new baby boy was brought to life. The fatherhood commenced, and somewhat shockingly. Jonathan looked up and realized that the first thing the baby asked for was to be fed (of course through breastfeeding).

For the most part, the food stories have long been wiped out from the short-term memory and lodged into one’s heart. Is it okay to comply with the “delicious” side of things and ignoring all the rest?

Jonathan says: I just ate what was available or tasty, what seemed natural, sensible, or healthy — what was there to explain?

Even though the author admits of some inconsistencies during the writing of this book, it’s pretty evident that the scope of it spreads beyond vegetarianism. It would be a great story, but it wouldn’t entirely cover the central premise that you’ll be witnessing here.

All or Nothing or Something Else

We all know who is man’s best friend, right? Even though cases of dog-eating are extremely rare (Talking about the US and we hope the rest of the world), 44 states out of 50 have legalized it.

It comes as a shock, but it’s the truth. It’s even estimated that 95% of male owners speak to their dogs as normal human beings, which is not quite the case when it comes to fish. This leads us to the next example that Jonathan wishes to magnify and go to the extremes.

Currently, the demand for fresh fish is on the rise; but hunting and exterminating our sea-friends with the current rate of activity will endanger their survival.

There is some foolish collective understanding regarding the process of hunting and consuming animal meat. As if we all enjoy the extremes and as a consequence of that – polarization is slowly taking over the world. In other words, you are either an activist or express contempt for their demands.

In our eyes, fish somehow doesn’t deserve the respect a dog does, and this is a broad generalization. Ask yourself, what would your reaction be if someone throws a pickaxe towards a dog with an intention to cook it? How then can we justify the hunt on sea-animals, which spreads uncontrollably?

Jonathan takes neither and implies that the world should seriously consider plunging into a debate to get to a broad vantage point.

Words / Meaning

In this section, we will give a brief explanation of some terminology:


The non-acceptance of the similarity existing between humans and other animals.


The idea of bestowing humanlike qualities upon other animals, and it’s considered to be an ingrained tendency of humans.


This term tries to unveil the process of catching sea-animals without intention. However, it’s tricky to portray this type of fishing as “by accident” because by now is entirely embraced by various fishermen worldwide.


Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, a.k.a. Factory farm. Namely, this organization was founded not to help the meat industry but to instill a sense of environmentalism by aligning with the Environmental Protection Agency.


Common Farming Exemptions enacts legal acts and measures to control the course of events for raising farmed animals and ensuring that the practices are followed.


Sharing delicious food for the sake of building strong social bonds and relationships.


An animal that collapses to the ground due to deteriorating health conditions and unable to get back up. This process doesn’t refer to humanlike demise.


A shared concern for environmental conditions which denotes the preservation of natural resources and controlled embezzlement. To put it differently, it takes into account the ecological system and the idea of tackling human irresponsibleness.


Most of us are cognizant of the power deriving from intuition, or sometimes called – the sixth sense. This impulse also referred to as instinct helps the animals to navigate, draw conclusions, find nesting locations, avoid predators and more.   

Hiding / Seeking

In this section, the author emphasizes some of the stories that shaped his viewpoints on how we behave with animals:

I Am the Kind of Person Who Finds Herself on a Stranger’s Farm in the Middle of the Night

It talks about a “guy” who grew up in Texas and was basically a backup killer. All the chickens which survived the automatic throat slitting had to be killed – as simple as that. Many would assume that this man is scientifically detached and out of touch but that it’s not the case.

What lies beneath this urge for survival remains a mystery!?

More often than not, we ignore this part of our lives. After watching a video on how cows and other poultry animals are slaughtered, something urged him to ask for an explanation. After not receiving an answer, he sent letters to huge farms all across the country to observe the process of preparing the meat.

He was refused while presented a different reason each and every time. It was clear; they didn’t want someone to keep an eagle eye on their inhumane treatment.

Eager to get to the bottom of this mystery, he started visiting farms and seeing the things you wouldn’t want to catch a glimpse of. Whether you like it or not, this is the cruel reality.

Factory farming is becoming and probably is just a killing process scaled by technology.

Influence / Speechlessness

In this section, the author mainly covers the epidemic diseases which resulted in many casualties.

Lam Hoi-ka – a tiny Inuit village of Brevig Mission where 267 live and thrive. Jonathan focuses on Johan Hultin – who on August 19th, 1997 got the legal go-ahead to excavate a mass grave of the flu victims in 1918.  

A couple of months before the removal of the bodies, Hong Kong broadcasted that H5N1-chicken virus is spreading. A six-year-old boy named Lam-Hoi-ka was the first victim, which raised many questions about the prospect of dealing with the crisis.

Influenza – also labeled as The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was the cause for the death of millions. The Influenza is regarded as one of the most fatal epidemics in world history.

In 2004, several experts gathered to discuss the possible link between farm animals and pandemic flu. They came to conclusions that public-health concerns are in tight correlation with the intake of various types of ingredients including poultry.

I Do

Less than 1% of the animals killed for meat in America come from family farms.

Bill and Nicolette

In pursuit of truth, Foer was warmly welcomed at Bill and Nicolette’s farm in the small town of Bolinas, California. Bill shared that he is the son of a Russian immigrant and explained how they run the farm.

When I visited them, Nicolette was spending more time managing their personal ranch than Bill was. He was busy working to ensure sales for the beef and pork produced by his company’s hundreds of small family farmers.

At the table, Foer ordered pasta primavera, and took Bill by surprise who asked: ‘Oh, are you a vegetarian?’

Foer replied: Yes.

And then Bill said –

I am a Vegetarian Farmer

He gives a rundown on how he perceives the whole meat extraction process, and that we shouldn’t succumb to cruelty as a response. Bill thinks that we should honor animals in every way possible, like lying in the sun, stimulating mating, and various others small acts of respect.

It’s the least we can do to preserve nature in its economic confinement. Moreover, when an animal dies from natural causes, nature consumes it – it’s the circle of life.

Do We Know Better?

There’s not a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that there are many different perspectives on how to treat animals.

Cultural, religious, social implications have a huge role. However, we all must at least undertake actions to provide them with better care.

Key Lessons from “Eating Animals”

1.      Allow for openness to introduce itself
2.      The endless supply of animals
3.      The effects of controlled consumption

Allow for openness to introduce itself

Nobody is saying or suggesting that you should become a vegan overnight.

The book’s narrative simply divulges key information regarding our treatment of animals. Stop for a moment and allow that to sink in.

The endless supply of animals

This is a great tragedy that many of us want to believe. As a matter of fact, we should root out the oblivious extermination of some animal species – something that is happening underneath our noses!

Once we become aware of the danger, it might be too late.

The effects of controlled consumption

Once we have a deep understanding of how dangerous it is to discard the prevailing threat, we’ll be ready to enact new policies.

It will benefit the entire living kingdom, to say the least.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Eating Animals Quotes”

While it is always possible to wake a person who's sleeping, no amount of noise will wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. Click To Tweet Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something. Click To Tweet Do you eat chicken because you are familiar with the scientific literature on them and have decided that their suffering doesn't matter, or do you do it because it tastes good? Click To Tweet I love sushi; I love fried chicken, I love steak. But there is a limit to my love! Click To Tweet Something having been done just about everywhere just about always is no kind of justification for doing it now. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Given the facts presented in this summary, it would be ignorant not to praise the educational side of this book.

We really believe that the magnitude of the problem is not exaggerated, and the world should discern the potential threat.

Generally speaking, it will make a nice addition to your reading collection!

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