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Foer ​explores the topics of factory farming and commercial fisheries. He examines topics such as by-catch and slaughterhouse conditions, learning that Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 58 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp, and that in American slaughterhouses, live cows are consistently “bled, dismembered, and skinned while conscious”. He also explores the health risks which pervade American factory farming, for example that H1N1 originated in a North Carolina factory farm, and that according to Consumer Reports, 98 percent of American chicken is infected with campylobacter or salmonella at the time of consumption.

Foer also examines the cultural meaning of food, beginning with the experience of his own grandmother, who survived the holocaust with a lifelong obsession over food. He builds on and ultimately criticizes the work of Michael Pollan on our relationship to the food we eat.

Finally, Foer examines humane agricultural methods, and the divide between animal rights and animal welfare, taking a conciliatory but principled approach.

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