Way back in December 2011, half way through curating my (somewhat extensive) Christmas list, I stumbled upon a book called Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I think I'd actually typed into Amazon's search list 'books that will change your life' just to see what would come up, and there was Eating Animals.
At the time I was one of those vegetarians people have to call to check they are "eating meat this week" before they make them dinner. In retrospect it was actually the perfect time for me to read this book for a bit of a wake up call- who am I kidding, a MAJOR wake up call. I'd done quite a bit of research into the farming industry in the UK for work, but I realised I wanted to find out some facts; I wanted to be a little clearer in my head when I sat down to eat chicken curry or a fish finger sandwich or even a slice of cake, what exactly I was about to consume.
After being given Foer's book for Christmas, I started reading on the 2nd of January. By the 9th of January I turned vegan without telling anyone for a few days. I was physically repulsed by what Foer describes in his investigation into the meat industry, and to be totally honest it was more of an immediate reaction at first: there's no way I could eat an egg after learning about the welfare of hens in the USA and the UK, free range or not, I couldn't go near them. I've now been a vegan for eleven months and couldn't think of living any other way.
I didn't plan to become a vegan when I started reading Eating Animals, and what's interesting (without giving too much away) is that Foer didn't become a vegan after writing it, but a vegetarian. Whatever your reaction to Eating Animals, it will change something about your standing. Whether it makes you begin to research a vegan lifestyle or all the more fierce as a meat eater to consume only the best, hand-reared whatever, the least you'll take away from this book is a better understanding of the animals you're eating. Don't let it pass you by.