Jonathan Safran Foer is in town tonight to talk about his new book Eating Animals. Part of the case he makes against consumers participating in the factory-farm industry is environmental: He details many of the egregious effects of wide-scale animal agriculture with which Earth to Philly readers will be all too familiar.
Another part of the case, though, is an ethical one - that what is happening in our names (and by way of our funding) on factory farms and conglomerate slaughterhouses is so commonly, relentlessly cruel that it's a violation of the values we all really believe in. He goes so far as to say these practices should be illegal.
The two concepts, pollution and cruelty, are not as distinct as they may seem: Foer agrees that the general population is now beginning to awaken to how badly animals are being abused in a way that mirrors how people eventually came to realize climate change and environmentalism were not just the wacky fringe concerns of a handful of crackpots. And he believes we might see factory farming "rejected" in a major way within the next ten years.
These are some of the topics we discuss in this audio interview (MP3, 7 MB) from last Thursday.