Quote(s) for Thought: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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As told by Kafka’s close friend Max Brod:

“Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks. ‘Now at least I can look at you in peace, I don’t eat you anymore.’ It was the time he turned strictly vegetarian.”

To be honest, I’m writing this post for myself. Because I want to put some of Foer’s thoughts on paper. Because I don’t want to forget.

I’m in a similar position as Jonathan Safran Foer was before he completely gave up meat. I wanted to become a vagaterian, and I did, several times, and then always somehow stopped. Now, I don’t want to promote anything here. And I don’t think that is the intention of the book, either. I just gives you facts, facts I think everyone should be aware of. Even if you eat meat, don’t you deserve to know where it comes from?

Let me just start by saying that I think Jonathan Safran Foer is an amazing author. I’ve read Eveything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and loved both of them. I love his writing style and I think it also shows in this non-fiction book. It is well-researched and it gives a great amount of information, but it is also very interesting. The author talks about himself, his family, his experiiences, as well as about his research. And research he did! He even spent time with both farmers and activists.

Some of these facts have become more videly known – for example the fact that the meat industry is responsible for about 40 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships in the world combined. We are aware of the dangers of factory farming, I thin, but no just how deep these problems go. And then, some things most people are not aware at all.

Foer deconstructs some ideas people use to ease their shame. One of the notions he deconstructs is that vegetarianism is a form of sentimentality – which would basically mean valuing emotions over reality.

Two friends are ordering lunch. One says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” and orders it. The other says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else. Who is the sentimentalist?

And, yet, he asks himself if vegetarians actually are sentimentalists (idealists) if they believe everyone would follow their path. People are obviously not willing to do that. Yet, we know that eating is a group activity. We mostly eat with someone. We can influence some people, or at least contribute to the small progress that is being made. Big changes often come from small actions.

Another thing Foer touches on is the fact that most people don’t care for birds as much as they do for mammals. And even if we do, most of us don’t really care for fish. We tell ourselves that those animals are not as intelligent, which has lately proven to be false. And fishing is basically destroying fish:

For every ten tuna, shars, and other large predatory fish that were in our oceans fifty to a hundred years ago, only one is left. Many scientist predict the total collapse of all fished species in less than fiftly years – and intense efforts are under way to catch, kill, and eat even more sea animals.

The average trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures as bycatch overboard.

…sea horses are one of more than one hundred sea animal species killed as ‘bycatch’ in the modern tuna industry.

Even if some animals do get a “clean” death, fish never do. All fish suffer since there are no regulations as to how they should die. However, slughterhouses often neglect all the regulations, or the regulations just get changed. I won’t go into detail about what happens at slaughterhauses. I guess most of people are aware of that, and if you’re not, then let me just say it’s much worse than you think it is. I really don’t want to talk about it, because it makes me sick, so I’ll move on to farming. This is, actually, one of the most important issues this book speaks about.

Jonathan Safran Foer really looks at farming from different perspectives and leaves it to the readers to come to their own conclusions. He gives his own opinion, talks about his lifestyle and the reasons behind his decision to give up meat completely, but he lets other people speak, too, and share their worldviews. He also gives an example of a man who is a vegan but constructs slaughterhouses. How is that possible? Because there seem to be no more slaughterhouses that provide a “clean” death. The farmers that take care of their animals cannot find a slughterhouse that would’t make their animals die a horrible death. And that’s why good slaughterhouses seemed important even to someone who refuses to eat animals.

This book doesn’t really speak against eating animals as much as it speaks against factory farming, overfishing, hormone and antibiotics fed, mutated and deformed animals. Many animals are left to suffer and die, because it would cost more to heal than to lose some of them (and there are much more animals that die before it’s the time for them to be illed than you could imagine). Many are born deformed.

In the world of factory farming, expectations are turned upside down. Veterinarians don’t work toward optimal health, but optimal profitability. Drugs are not for curing diseases but substitutes for destroyed immune systems. Farmers do not aim to produce healthy animals.

Modern factory farming is destroying our environment in more way than you think. Fighting this kind of farms is crucial for the environmental sustainability. Crucial for our planet. Factory farms are nothing more than the product of human insatiable greed – it’s exclusively about money, not about feeding people. And family farms cannot fight them. Bill Niman, the owner of a family farm who cares about the treatment of his animals, was driven out of his company because the board wanted to do things more profitably and less ethically. Though his ranch is an example of good (or at least much better) treatment of animals, he said that he would no longer eat Niman Ranch beef. Not under the new conditions.

Factory farming hurts humas as well:

People who live near factory farms are rarely wealthy and are treated by the industry as dispensable. The fecal mists they are forced to breathe usually don’t kill humans, but sore throats, headaches, coughing, runny noses, diarrhea, and even psychological illness including abnormally high levels of tension, depression, anger, and fatigue, are common. According to a report by the California state senat, “Studies have shown that {animal waste} lagoons emit toxic airbornee chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation and neurochemical problems in humans.”

The meat from factory farms hurts us and is responsible for many disesases from more people suffering from asthma and allergies, to flu. Factory farms are also known for horrible working conditions of their employees.

And factory farms hurts other animals besides those confined inside of them and unable to move of their entire lives (again, I don’t want to go too much into the cruelty that happens there) :

In only three years, two hundred fish kills – incidents where the entire fish population in a given area is killed at once – have resulted from factory famrs’ failures to kkeep their shit out of the waterways.

All of this also deconstructs the idea that animals have better lives on farms than they would have in the wild, where many would be killed anyway. These animals do not live happy lives before their slaughter.

This is becoming a more and more talked-about topic, which is definitely a good start. Some laws are being changed, though not as much as they should. Newspapers are writing about it (The New York Times was the first to do so), and Whole Foods was the first supermarket chain that committed to a systematic program of animal welfare labeling. There’s hope (dare I say it…) and everyone should contribute.

Yes, this is a long post and I don’t now if anyone’s going to read it, but it is very important to me, and I think it should be important to everyone. Eating Animals is a must-read. We must act – for animals, for our planet, and for ourselves.

If we are at all serious about ending factory farming, then the absolute least we can do is stop sending checkks to the absolute worst abusers. (…) We know, at least, that this decision will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and helo eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in world history.

 

 

Captured Moments… Vienna, Austria

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If you’ve read some of my recent posts, you know I’ve spent a week in Austria, and celebrated the New Year’s Eve there. (Austria, the one with no kangaroos. 😛 It’s actually a big joke there, you can buy t-shirts that say NO KANGAROOS IN AUSTRIA. :’))

Anyway, Vienna is more than beautiful, so it would be a shame not to share some photos from my trip with you. Hope you’ll like them!

After a day of just walking around, one day was spent entirely on two museums – The Art History Museum and The Natural History Museum. Both were amazing! And the buildings themselves are beautiful, too.

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The Natural History Museum had a lot of dinosaur-related exhibits. If you knew how much I love dinosaurs, you’d know how excited I was! (I wanted to be a paleonthologist when I was a child. Well, I still do…) And the Allosaur that moves and growls… I wanted to take it home! XD

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There was also a part of the museum dedicated to space, and it was quite magical, but impossible to photograph well.

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And since it was night by the time we left the museum, we could enjoy seeing it coloured with light. There was a small Christmas Village between the museums so everything looked very cute and festive. It was easy to forget about the cold.

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Now, off to the city itself! Honesty, I wanted to take picture of every building I saw. XD Here’s just a few to show you why:

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Wagner’s apartments:

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The Secession Bulding, an exhibition hall built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession artists:

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The beautiful Parliament, with the statue of the goddess of victory, Nike:

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City Hall and the Christmas Village in front of it, it looked really lovely:

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And the prettiest ever – the Hundertwasserhaus, an expressionst apartment house built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser with architect Joseph Krawina as a co-author:

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The shops inside were also gorgeously decorated. It was like a little town of its own.

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KunstHausWien was also designed by Hundertwasser. It now hold an exhibition of his work, but also hosts temporary exhibitions of other artists. And it’s amazingly pretty, of course:

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And, oh, the palaces! Belvedere…

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…and Schönbrunn.

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Beautiful Vienna… It was really hard to pick among the many pictures I’ve taken, but I think these give you a nice overview of my trip. Yes, it was cold, but not too cold, and I’m from coastal part of Croatia so I’m really not used to cold. We managed to see everything we wanted, and escaped just before it got very, very cold. XD From now on, whenever I think of Vienna, nice, warm memories of this trip will come to my mind. ❤

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Update and a Microtale

Hi, dear bloggers! I just wanted to let you know that I will be absent from my blog for a week. I’m spending the next week in Vienna, and I will celebrate the New Year’s Eve there! I can’t wait! 🙂 

Before I go, I decided to post the cutest photo from my previous trip, to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and a microtale that I made up for it. Wish you all great holidays! :*

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Sea Happiness

He jumped. The sea spattered around him. He had just an hour, or even less, before the sun set and the boring half of his day began. Then the sea would suddenly start to feel cold, and his limbs too weak to swim as fast as he would want to. Even the fish won’t taste good.

A long time ago the curse was spoken. He was to spend the day as a seal, and during the night he would take the human shape. An annoying curse, indeed. What was one supposed to do as a weak, two legged creature who doesn’t know how to enjoy the simplest and most beautiful things?

Captured Moments… Dublin

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As promised, I finally made a post about my trip to Dublin. I have previously written a post about my tour to Northern Ireland, but writing a post about Dublin proved to be much more difficult. I spent five days there, so many pictures were taken. XD

I’ll start with this image of a beautiful Georgian door. Dublin is known for these colorful doors and they really look lovely!

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My first impression of Dublin was actually this gorgeous view:

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Here you can see the Jeanie Johnston ship, with the Samuel Beckett bridge and Poolbag chimneys in the background. Jeanie Johnston is the kind of ship Irish people travelled on when they left for America during the Great Famine. It’s hard to imagine crossing the entire ocean like that… But it’s such a beautiful ship!

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The next big “stop” was the Dublin Castle. I’m a bit obsessed with old castles, the older the better. XD

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The inside is pretty as well. 🙂

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The Christ Church Cathedral is another beautiful place to see.

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Just behind the Cathedral, lies Dublinia. Dublinia has this amazing exhibition about the history of Dublin, and the people who lived there. Did you even know that Dublin was founded by the Vikings? So, yes, if you’re obsessed with the Vikings as I am, Dublinia is definitely the place to visit. 😉

Dublin Cathedral and Dublinia

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Then, of course, there’s Trinity College, with its amazing library.

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One of Dublin’s famous monuments is the Spire of Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light. It’s really impressive to see it in person. It seems like it’s touching the sky.

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Another monument I have to show you is the Oscar Wilde Sculpture. I love it so much! Look how relaxed he looks, with a cynical smile on his lips. Just amazing!

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I would also recommmend visiting Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, even if you don’t want to do any shopping. It looks so beautiful!

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I also went to see Once, the musical, when I was in Dublin, and it was amazing! I saw the movie quite some time ago, but I think I enjoyed the musical even more. And the special thing about this musical is that before the beginning and during the break, the stage becomes a bar so you can climb up and grab a drink. It was so fun to be on that stage!

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And now I’ll leave you with a few more pictures od the streets of Dublin. It’s a very lively city, and you can’t experience its beauty only through its landmarks. I’ll start with the photo of the old man who was dancing while the street musicians played. He stole the show. XD

Hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Captured Moments… Northern Ireland

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So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I went on a vacation to Ireland this summer. We were staying in Dublin, but we also made two bus tours outside the city. The first one was to Northern Ireland, so I decided to dedicate this post just to that one tour. It would be to much to fit everything in just one post. 😉

Anyway, we left Dublin early in the morning, 7:30. It was a quiet ride until the first stop – the Dark Hedges.

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Now, if this isn’t gorgeous, I don’t know what is. The hedges were planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their home, which I think they succeeded in. And, yes, Game of Thrones was filmed there.

The next stop was wonderful as well – Carrick-A-Rede island which is connected to the coast by a rope bridge.

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It was really fun to cross it! And the nature there was perfect.

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That’s me in the last photo, trying to make my own version of Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. XD

The next stop was at the Giant’s Causeway – the 37,000 basalt columns whose tops form “stepping stones” leading from the cliff foot and disappearing under the sea. It’s a real wonder of nature! The legend says it was built by the giant Finn McCool who wanted to cross over to Scotland to fight the Scottish giant. The Scottish giant proved to be much bigger than Finn, so he ran away and hid himself in his son’s nursery. When the Scottish giant came and saw how big the baby was, he deduced that its father must be enormus, so he ran away, destroying the causeway behind him.

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That’s me and my brother frowning behind me. XD

And finally, we had a little bit of time to walk around Belfast. The city is very beautiful, both old and modern, unfortunately we didn’t have the time to see much of it.

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We were back in Dublin in the evening, a little before 9 p.m. And I plan to take you to Dublin as well, soon. 😉

Going to Ireland :)

So, just a little update from me. Tomorrow morning I’m going on a trip to Ireland! Yaaay! Anyway, this means I’ll be absent from my blog for eight days. I might still have some time to browse my Reader page, but not as much… I promise to bring you some pictures! 🙂

I’m leaving you with a couple of photos from my previous trip, to Scotland. Enjoy the loveliness:

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Colourful Edinburgh.

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Beautiful Edinburgh.

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Castle in the distance.

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Magical nature.

Just a little update…

I made a profile on Instagram.

Yeah, big deal, I know. XD

But if anyone’s on Istagram as well, they may find me at azriela.moone. I love to express myself with words, but sometimes pictures are an interesting way of expression as well. It also means I’ll try to take more photos, which I always found interesting. I’ll be happy to find you there!

Also, I have this idea for a short story, and I even started writing it, but I somehow never got to finish it… It’ll be done soon I hope. 🙂

Wish you all the best, and let me share one of my favourite photos, from San Gimignano, Italy. 😀

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