The Problem of Animal Agriculture in Foer's Book Eating Animals Essay Sample

The Problem of Animal Agriculture in Foer

Jonathan Saffran Foer’s book Eating Animals is a vivid example of organized speculations over the subject of animal rights and animal farming in particular. Although it is a central topic for the activists, the author also brings into focus the peculiarities of vegetarianism. The title mainly speaks of the fact that Foer sheds light on the positive and negative aspects of eating animals. The book is written in the ambiguous form that portrays the memories of the author and his own attitude to the issues of eating meat, vegetarianism, and even natural resources. This particular form of memories is extremely helpful in providing different sides of the problem. It is obvious from the context that to enrich his speculations, Foer applies the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos and logos in order to suggest a well-organized argument and convince the readers. The book’s main message manifests itself in Foer’s assumption that people essentially need to consume less in order to reduce the breeding and limit farm production of meat, which threatens people’s health and contributes to animal suffering.

Evidently, Foer applies the rhetorical strategies to impress the reader and ensure the argument’s credibility. Presumably, the main strategy that the author uses in his book is the logos, or logical reasoning about people’s decisions concerning becoming a vegetarian. Foer’s general claim, by means of which the reader may notice the rhetorical strategy of logos, concerns the issues of animal agriculture. Undoubtedly, the author sticks to the rhetorical strategy of pathos, which appeals to the emotions of potential readers. Pathos in Foer’s creative writing is reached by means of Foer’s own emotions and recollections as wells as peculiarities of his son’s life. It can be easily assumed that pathos is Foer’s main rhetorical strategy that leads the reader to the description of animal agriculture. The author describes his own childhood quite masterfully and dwells upon his grandmother’s abilities to cook meat. In this context, one may notice a striking rhetorical device that is rather unusual and lays an emphasis on the very moment when Foer has started thinking over the problem of eating animals: “how-in-the-world-could-I-have-never-thought-of-that-before-and-why-on-earth-didn’t-someone-tell-me? moments” (Foer). The above-mentioned phrase attaches the highest importance to the moment when a person realizes the problem of animals and their rights. In addition, there can be no doubt in the assumption that communicating to the reader the peculiarities of raising a child may appeal to his or her emotions.

As Foer himself admits that his speculations mainly concern the problem of animal agriculture, it is necessary to point out that application of pathos in this case is justifiable. Presumably, the author’s appeal to the people’s emotions can be seen in the following lines:

Too often, arguments about eating animals aren’t arguments at all, but statements of taste. And where there are facts – this is how much pork we eat; these are how many mangrove swamps have been destroyed by aquaculture; this is how a cow is killed […] (Foer)

Seemingly, to organize and support the argument about the need to reduce the amounts of animal agriculture, the author resorts to asking thrilling questions, the essence of which consists in fostering animal adversities. In Foer’s opinion, excessive meat consumption is believed to be an issue of tremendous significance because it contributes to the level of meat demand and augments the need in animal farming. According to Foer, animal agriculture is the main trigger for animal suffering. Eventually, the author asks his readers the question, “Is it anthropomorphism to try to imagine yourself into a farmed animal’s cage?” (Foer 47). In this particular case, animal’s cage is a symbol of animals’ sufferings.

Defenders of animals, such as Peter Singer who stands for their basic rights, suggest that people should stick to vegetarianism as it seems to be a solution to prevent animal suffering in general. However, Foer admits that vegetarianism does not seem to be the only solution. Although Singer claims that the consumption of meat is unwarrantable as meat industry only leads to animal stress in different ways, he should bear in mind that all people on the planet cannot become vegetarians. His point of view is too blurred to be true as it does not coincide with what the reality actually brings into focus. Due to this, in defense of Laura Fraser’s statement that “the problem really isn’t meat, but too much meat,” it is reasonable to admit that Foer’s speculations over the consequences of animal farming are quite realistic and promising. It means that Foer applies the rhetorical strategy of ethos and logos in his book.

Summing up the foregoing, Foer’s book provides the reader with space for thoughts by means of appealing to his/her emotions and applying logical reasoning in terms of animal eating. As there is a grain of truth in Foer’s argument and it is logically organized, it is worth assuming that the book is marked with a certain point of credibility. It is necessary to point out that Foer’s main intention was to create a book that would excite the curiosity of many readers and lead them up to the problem of excessive meat consumption and animal suffering. The questions that Foer raises in his book are ethically compelling. Therefore, Foer’s argument is well-organized as it is marked with application of three main rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos and logos. Although the argument is mainly based on the subject of animal farming, it attaches the highest importance to people’s level of meat consumption and health in general.

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