Alright, I’m going to catch flack for this one but.. when have you ever known me to keep my thoughts to myself??
I will not tell you what to read, but I will tell you what not to believe.
It is my firm opinion that John Foer’s book “Eating Animals” is rife with inaccuracies that are presented to support his biased views to others as third party observation. But that is not the focus, no no, the premire reason for this novel is to smugly tout the superiority he believes is his religion and even more so – his own childhood.
One particular myth I will waste time dismissing is located on page 78/79 and chapter heading:
“In the typical cage for egg-laying hens each bird has 67 inches of space – the size of the rectangle above. Nearly all cage-free birds have approximately the same amount of space.”
First off, the picture (measured from the outer bounds of the thick black line) only encompasses 63 sq. inches (ISBN 978-0-316-06990-8 HC). But further, did anyone else notice his wording? ‘in the typical cage each bird has’ … what he failed to tell his audience is that birds are never placed alone. It’s a well known fact (for those who know animals and raise them) that just about all birds will die of loneliness. They need company. Have you ever heard a Rhea cry? They will if you separate them from other rheas.
Layer hens (as I was told by a farmer with 30+ years experience) are typically placed in groups of 4 or 5 birds. Ensuring that each bird has at least that minimum space as stipulated by laws governing agriculture. When you times 67 (no 63 is displayed in this book) by 4 or 5 you get a cage with dimensions of 268 sq. inches. Or, if you want to draw a rectangle on your own book you could try somewhere around 18×15 inches (yes I realize that comes up to 270 sq. in.. however you forgot to deduct space for water/food distribution in the corner).
‘Oh, that’s not a lot of space’ I hear some bleeding hearts cry. But what is it you’re imaging in there? A large leghorn cock? Or a poulet / pullet – which is what lays your eggs you bought in a carton at the shop.
A document comparing egg production and hen health in relation to floor space: ps.fass.org/cgi/reprint/38/4/893.pdf The comparison is between hens given 4 sq.ft of space and those with 1.3 sq. feet. The difference is an egg or two a day.. which adds up over time but further, they analyzed tissue of the hens to view stress/adrenal reactions to this lifestyle. Go ahead and read it.. before you scream ‘it’s outdated’ .. in most cases it’s in humanity’s (as well as business.. profits are a motivator for just about everything around you) to improve and learn from what we know. So is it such a fantasy to believe that our methods to day are more archaic than those of the 50s when it comes to agriculture?? If you believe companies would dismiss previous science completely and yet still want to further themselves .. that’s a paradox.
Remember what Mortal Kombat always said while loading: There is no knowledge that is not power.
The fact remains; those who believe animals are harddoneby in our society will not suddenly have an epiphany after reading this but it does help me to clarify what was muddily presented in a fairly out there book. An equal fact is that people on the other side of the see-saw can barely stomach the book and the continual theo-superiority injected in the pages.