Foer Chicken

» June 15th, 2012

Not sure what to say, other than how paradoxical it is that the person who motivated so many people to go vegan is telling us where to buy chicken. Actually, I’m speechless.

26 Responses to Foer Chicken

  1. I’ve LONG said that something is painfully wrong when a book (and readers often carry books around just to show off their titles) has a title expressing that we do exactly the opposite of the message inside the book.

  2. James McWilliams writes about “Eating Plants” and names his blog appropriately, not inappropriately. Everything we do can be ‘messaging’ and therefore should be considered very mindfully.

  3. I appreciate Maynard S. Clark’s observation on this story:

    “I’ve LONG said that something is painfully wrong when a book (and readers often carry books around just to show off their titles) has a title expressing that we do exactly the opposite of the message inside the book.”

    Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan Safran Foer … Why?! Just why? :/

  4. Carolle says:

    Thanks Jimmy for showing this youtube video – I would have never seen it otherwise. In a word: disappointing.

  5. Bea Elliott says:

    Yes, Foer’s flawed and erroneously concluded message does reach a lot of people. People who all want to feel like they “care” for birds while sourcing “chicken”.

    What perfect timing too! Just a short time after his participation in judging the “ethics” of flesh eating! Sounds like a contrived, manipulative, pragmatic marketing $trategy to me. He fed them what they wanted in their minds and (fake) hearts and so he continues to fill their stomachs (and his wallet) too.

    This profitable compromise is certainly NOT for the birds! :(

  6. Rebecca says:

    His book was my motivation for becoming a vegan – and was very powerful, too – over the course of a weekend I went from being a very omnivorous carnist to a full-fledged vegan, and have never looked back (except in horror). We can only hope that tells us, “Just don’t.” JSF, very disappointed in you.

  7. Jo Tyler says:

    I was floored when I saw this video today. I also wrote about it on my blog and left comments on Foer’s facebook page (and Farm Forward’s, too). So disappointing….I just don’t understand. :-( ((

  8. Valerie says:

    Maybe he is only addressing meat-eaters?

  9. Abigail says:

    Wow. Speechless. Makes me think he’s being paid a pretty sum to promote that site.

  10. Christine says:

    I’m no surprised at all. He’s never professed to be a vegan which, after reading his book, is mystifying. I saw him speak at my university last year and it was alternately disappointing and maddening. Animals were a tertiary concern at best. It was set up as a “conversation/interview” with a university admin, so I’ll grant he did not have autonomy in determining the discussions direction. But he was…awful. At one juncture he advocated a “2/3 vegetarian” diet, abstaining from meat for breakfast and lunch and then at dinner “eat your heart out. Eat somebody else’s heart out!” And the audience burst into applause. I don’t know how he could possibly find that amusing after the narrative he provides in his book.

  11. Gabe says:

    Well, the website isn’t *all* that bad. It looks like they offer resources for locating what is presumably veggie/faux chicken.

    But seriously JSF? Is it really that hard just to come out with the sensible but less popular opinion that you just shouldn’t eat other non-human animals to begin with?

  12. CQ says:

    Yes, Mr. Foer, the farm industry is famously secretive, including how much the “poultry” producers paid you to be infamously two-faced.

    Today I lunched with fellow vegans at The Yard, which serves Gardein’s seven grain crispy tenders. They’re as good as any baked or even fried white-meat chicken flesh I’ve ever eaten. In 21st century America, there’s simply no excuse for killing birds and deadening one’s conscience in the process.

    • Gabe says:

      I doubt Foer was “paid off” by the poultry producers.

      Even in Eating Animals, Foer made it very clear that he wanted people to be educated consumers, not necessarily vegetarians.

      Also, small scale farmers, as abhorrent as their practices may be, are not the dishonest or greedy type (they obviously aren’t greedy, otherwise they would’ve signed off with Smithfield long ago).

      I’m not saying I agree with what Foer’s advocacy for purchasing “responsible” meat. However, he’s certainly no Michael Pollan, and we shouldn’t pretend that he was ever advocating for total vegetarianism/veganism.

      • CQ says:

        Yes, upon visiting the poultry website and seeing that it is soliciting donations, I realized I’d jumped to conclusions about Foer being paid. That was wrong of me. I take it back!

        You’re right, he never advocated for pure plant-based
        eating. He confined his horror to the cruelty and pollution of factory farms. But he did call himself a vegetarian. Why a vegetarian (possibly vegan) would promote eating animals, no matter how they are raised, is beyond me.

        Actually, I feel for Foer the Fence-Sitter. Like Humpty Dumpty, he’s bound to fall from the wall. I hope he lands on the ethical vegan side.

        • Bea Elliott says:

          Yes! I take it back too… Doesn’t seem like Foer is making any money directly. But he is promoting someone else along the chain that will receive a financial reward for taking a life albeit in a “kinder” manner.

          Imagine the fence sitters *for* Foer? For more than 2 years I’ve received daily “Google alerts” on Foer’s activities. Almost daily there’d be a new post from someone who just discovered him via his “Eating Animals” book. That’s a lot of thinkers… And for many who pondered beyond – The un-named alternative took.

          Sadly for the others who were mulling it around – It gave them an easier way out… Via even muddy water than when they started .

          I wonder if the timing here might have something to do with the proposed documentary that Natialie Portman is slated to narrate?
          I guess it’s “Pick your mixed message” – There’s a choice for everyone. :/

  13. Elise says:

    Extremely sad and incredibly disappointing

  14. richard mcmahan says:

    The video seemingly is listed as “private” as of 4:00pm pacific . Has it been shut down?

    • Very interesting, Richard. It’s listed as “private” for me too. I wonder if he’s getting slammed with negative comments from the AR community today. Everyone on my FB page is furious! It still is accessible on Youtube, though, but only has 6 views. And comments are disabled. Wow!

  15. richard mcmahan says:

    Here is an article about Foer speaking at a gathering of Farm Forward. From the article, “Farm Forward’s executive staffers are all vegan”.

  16. Bea Elliott says:

    Well, I went right to the BuyPoultry site and voiced my concerns… I received an email back (form lette?) that states: “Jonathan is promoting a website, not any particular dietary choice.” And “The point of the site is to expose the shams and, yes, also highlight products from animals that were given a good life (no genetic modification of any kind, full life on pasture, zero mutilations, highly regulated transport and slaughter, etc.—not just the usual yadda yadda) even though they are of course killed (which I myself, as a vegan, choose not to participate in).”

    Now… I sure do have trouble with a vegan participating in an endeavor that advocates the “yadda-yadda’s” of killing sentient beings! I also gag at the term “full life on pasture” — They sure aren’t keeping anyone around a day longer than the time they reach their maximum “value”. Grrrr!

    Finally “{the site} will help people learn about how poultry is produced and come to their own conclusions in an environment that is not pressuring them with any particular conclusion.” Heaven forbid we use any energy, funds or personal commitment to urge people to do what’s right! :/

  17. raynedropp says:

    I was surprised by this too, but here is a quote from JSF: “This is not my favorite way about speaking the issue and I do feel some serious discomfort about suggesting there are better ways to buy chicken. I don’t think there’s a good way to buy chicken.”

    Please check out the insightful post by erikmarkus here:

  18. Bea Elliott says:

    I don’t know if anyone caught this but at Farm Foward’s Launch shin-dig “Celebrity chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant then spoke about the possibility of humanely produced foie gras”. Nice to know the uppity gourmands may have a go at the fattened goose yet again. Sad.

    • CQ says:

      Yup. Saw that. It fit right in with all the other animal-exploiting activities the “vegan” founders of Farm Forward are celebrating, so I didn’t blink when I read it. Sad, huh?

      Why do these high-powered activists have so little faith in their ability to make the message of veganism appealing to an environmentally aware public? Why do they think they have to fool people into believing that killing animals is ever humane, or that housing and feeding and watering animals is ever sustainable?

      Were Donald Watson here today, I think — at least I hope! — he would include in his definition of VEGAN an explicitly worded sentence to the effect that an ethical vegan never condones, promotes, advertises, markets, or makes money from selling products or services that involve the use of animals.

  19. I can’t access the video. It is “private.”

  20. [...] you, James McWilliams, for bringing this video to our attention. No related content found. /* This content is [...]

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