Quotes from Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer ·  341 pages

Rating: (51.5K votes)


“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.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Not responding is a response - we are equally responsible for what we don't do.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science I've discussed, that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory-- disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“I can't count the times that upon telling someone I am vegetarian, he or she responded by pointing out an inconsistency in my lifestyle or trying to find a flaw in an argument I never made. (I have often felt that my vegetarianism matters more to such people than it does to me.)”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



“If nothing matters, there's nothing to save.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“We can't plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“It shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to figure out what's cruel and what's kind, what's environmentally destructive and what's sustainable. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don't need the option of buying children's toys made with lead paint, or aerosols with chlorofluorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don't need the option of buying factory-farmed animals.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Not responding is a response--we are equally responsible for what we don't do. In the case of animal slaughter, to throw your hands in the air is to wrap your fingers around a knife handle.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



“Elsewhere the paper notes that vegetarians and vegans (including athletes) 'meet and exceed requirements' for protein. And, to render the whole we-should-worry-about-getting-enough-protein-and-therefore-eat-meat idea even more useless, other data suggests that excess animal protein intake is linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers. Despite some persistent confusion, it is clear that vegetarians and vegans tend to have more optimal protein consumption than omnivores. ”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“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?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Since the world has changed so much, the same values don't lead to the same choices anymore.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“If we are not given the option to live without violence, we are given the choice to center our meals around harvest or slaughter, husbandry or war. We have chosen slaughter. We have chosen war. That's the truest version of our story of eating animals.

Can we tell a new story?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Needless to say, jamming deformed, drugged, overstressed birds together in a filthy, waste-coated room is not very healthy. Beyond deformities, eye damage, blindness, bacterial infections of bones, slipped vertebrae, paralysis, internal bleeding, anemia, slipped tendons, twisted lower legs and necks, respiratory diseases, and weakened immune systems are frequent and long-standing problems on factory farms.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



“If we were to one day encounter a form of life more powerful and intelligent than our own, and it regarded us as we regard fish, what would be our argument against being eaten?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose, keep in touch (or don't), care about birthdays, waste and lose time, brush their teeth, feel nostalgia, scrub stains, have religions and political parties and laws, wear keepsakes, apologize years after an offense, whisper, fear themselves, interpret dreams, hide their genitalia, shave, bury time capsules, and can choose not to eat something for reasons of conscience. The justifications for eating animals and for not eating them are often identical: we are not them.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Ironically, the utterly unselective omnivore -- "I'm easy; I'll eat anything" -- can appear more socially sensitive than the individual who tries to eat in a way that is good for society.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Something having been done just about everywhere just about always is no kind of justification for doing it now.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“It's always possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



“I love sushi, I love fried chicken, I love steak. But there is a limit to my love,”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“And nothing inspires as much shame as being a parent. Children confront us with our paradoxes and hypocrisies, and we are exposed. You need to find an answer for every why — Why do we do this? Why don’t we do that? — and often there isn’t a good one. So you say, simply, because. Or you tell a story that you know isn’t true. And whether or not your face reddens, you blush. The shame of parenthood — which is a good shame — is that we want our children to be more whole than we are, to have satisfactory answers.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“We know, at least, that this decision (ending factory farming) will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve publish health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in history.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Isn't it strange how upset people get about a few dozen baseball players taking growth hormones, when we're doing what were doing to our food animals and feeding them to our children?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“This isn't animal experimentation, where you an imagine some proportionate good at the other end of the suffering. This is what we feel like eating. Tell me something: Why is taste, the crudest of our sense, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other sense? If you stop and think about it, it's crazy. Why doesn't a horny person has as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to killing and eating it?”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



“Choosing leaf or flesh, factory farm or family farm, does not in itself change the world, but teaching ourselves, our children, our local communities, and our nation to choose conscience over ease can.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“This brings me back to the image of Kafka standing before a fish in the Berlin aquarium, a fish on which his gaze fell in a newly found peace after he decided not to eat animals. Kafka recognized that fish as a member of his invisible family- not as his equal, of course, but as another being that was his concern.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“You can call your turkey organic and torture it daily. ”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“One of the greatest opportunities to live our values-or betray them-lies in the food we put on our plates.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals


“Almost always when I told someone I was writing a book about "eating animals", they assumed, even without knowing anything about my views, that it was a case for vegetarianism. It's a telling assumption, one that implies not only that a thorough inquiry into animal agriculture would lead one away from eating meat, but that most people already know that to be the case.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, quote from Eating Animals



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About the author

Jonathan Safran Foer
Born place: in Washington, D.C., The United States
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