06 November 2009

From Today's Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Safran Foer's pup-in-cheek essay "Let Them Eat Dog" (Weekend Journal, Oct. 31), while humorous enough, masks more serious issues.

Beyond the environmental impacts of meat production there is a basic ethical issue involved. So here is an even more modest proposal than roasting Fido: Try eating only what animals you are willing to kill with your own hands. I suspect that meat consumption would decline dramatically under such a code; it would certainly make many of us less hypocritical.

Steve Heilig
San Francisco

Mr. Foer misses the point of the debate completely. A decision not to eat dogs has nothing to do with our inherent hypocrisy, but with our relationship to different animals. Dogs were bred to be companion animals; pigs and cows are raised as food. To suggest that eating one and not the other represents a conflict of ethics is preposterous.

However, I agree with Mr. Foer that factory farming has to go. We carnivores have to become more benevolent. Rather than eating dogs, we all ought to eat exclusively small-farmed, free-range meat. Arguments like "Let Them Eat Dog" caricatures the antifactory farm position, which is a shame because it's an important argument to hear. I suggest that Mr. Foer stop writing about food and stick to the stories.

Sarah V. Howland
Northport, N.Y.

At one point during my year living in China, I ate dog. The fury this meal caused my friends and family back in America motivated me to examine whether eating any animal was justified. Why was a dog more worthy of not being dinner than a pig? My interactions with farm animals have been as affectionate and fun as any I've had with dogs or cats. In the name of moral consistency I became a vegetarian four years ago. The peace of mind—and the weight I've lost—have been well worth the effort.

Chantelle Wallace
Austin, Texas

The irony of this article, which is reminiscent of Irish author Jonathan Swift's suggestion of eating "excess children" to shock and awe his readers, isn't lost on an intelligent reader. Mr. Foer's book "Eating Animals" is definitely worth the reading for any individual who has the guts to face the facts of a meat-based diet and the damage it is doing to man and animal alike.

Elaine Livesey-Fassel
Los Angeles