When I first moved here, I thought that all farms looked like this.
When I was driving around these rural roads at night, however, I noticed many large, glowing buildings. It took me a while to realize that these were barns I was looking it. It made me stop and take a closer look during daylight hours. Most farms around here look more like this.
In his book, Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer reviews the practice of factory farming and asks us to consider how much pollution, health risk and animal suffering we’re willing to endure for a piece of meat. The information in the book made my stomach turn. It’s a complete horror story.
Thankfully, there are a few glimmers of hope peppered throughout the book. One example is a fantastic organization in Watkins Glen called Farm Sanctuary. Watkins Glen is about 35 minutes from Geneva and is home to some beautiful waterfalls and some serious car racing. Farm Sanctuary is exactly what you might imagine – a refuge for sick and mistreated farm animals. They also work to raise awareness and promote change about how farm animals are treated.
Before reading Foer’s book, I had no idea how urgently we need to change factory farm practices (I don’t know how things compare in Canada). I’m not sure yet how or if I’m going to change my eating habits. Should I become a full-time vegetarian? Should I try to find ethical meat? Do I really need to research where all my food comes from? Apart from my personal eating habits, what else can I do? Wherever I land on these questions, I will definitely support Farm Sanctuary’s work and I can’t wait to visit when it opens again in the spring.
For more pictures of Farm Sanctuary animals (like the picture of Tweed the Calf, below), check out this article at the Huffington Post.
Update: Natalie Portman may be making a documentary based on Eating Animals.