Why Are Vegetarians So Depressing?: An Evening With Jonathan Safran Foer

How can you tell me that I can't have turkey at Thanksgiving? A hot-dog at a baseball game? A barbeque for the Fourth of July? Do I really have to become a vegetarian?
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Animal agriculture is a bigger cause of global warming than cars.

You'd be better off driving a Hummer than eating a steak.

Eating too much meat can cause heart disease and cancer.

Factory farms cause pollution and the people who live near them are getting asthma.

Animals on factory farms never see the sun or touch the earth.

The animals that we eat are being fed so many antibiotics, that at this rate, in the future, antibiotics are not going to work on us.

Adult women who drink milk are 3 times more likely to have twins than women who don't.

Why is this?

Because the cows are being fed so many hormones.

Care about world hunger?

For every calorie we eat of meat, we are wasting 6 to 26 calories because instead of grass, we are feeding the animals corn and soy.

Not to mention the damage we are doing to the environment for the average amount of miles it takes us to ship our food to our supermarket. It would be like going from New York to Texas for dinner every night.

Care about animal cruelty?

The turkeys that we buy at the supermarket are so genetically altered that they can't even physically sexually reproduce.

The chickens that we buy at the supermarket are so genetically altered that they cannot even physically walk.

Chickens in nature live for ten years.

We kill them at 38 to 41 days.

They are kept in crates piled 18 high in dark rooms with no light and their cages are never cleaned.

The crates are so close together that their beaks are cut off to prevent them from cannibalizing each other.

99% of animals are on factory farms.

There are family farms that treat animals humanely but family farms could not feed all of Staten Island; let alone the world.

Just a few facts I learned last night at the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan's program "Who Knew Food Could Be So Fraught?" with uber-downer Jonathan Safran Foer.


Vegetarians are so depressing.

So, what's the answer?

For Foer, the answer is simple.

Stop eating meat.

But what?


How can you tell me that I can't have turkey at Thanksgiving? A hotdog at a baseball game? A barbeque for the Fourth of July? My mother's brisket at Passover? Chicken soup when I have the flu?

All right, all right, all right.

You don't have to become a vegetarian. It's okay.

But do we have to eat meat so much?

We eat 150 times as much chicken as we did 80 years ago.

Maybe keep the chicken soup but don't eat chicken nuggets in your car.

A little more apples, a little less Applebee's.

Keep the chili but lose the Chili's.

Have a burger but don't have Burger King.

It's disposable eating so let's dispose of it.

If you can't cut meat out of your diet, cut down, cut back.

Don't buy ground beef for a dollar at Wal-Mart.

Don't go to McDonalds.

Do meatless Mondays.

If you eat meat three times a day, try eating meat twice a day or once a day or a few times a week or once a week.

Not everyone can quit eating meat but most people can cut back on it at least a little bit and make a difference.

So, let's jump on the bandwagon here, folks.

Because the other wagon seems to be filled with tortured animals, heart disease, cancer, asthma, pollution, floods, more hurricane Katrinas, melting polar ice caps, and the inability to use antibiotics.

And that sounds like a major downer.

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