In an essay posted on HuffingtonPost.com, Natalie Portman explains that after reading an advance copy of Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, Eating Animals, she went "from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist." Whoa, props to you, Jonathan (and to Portman, too, of course).
What exactly caused Portman to go from not eating animals to not eating anything stolen from them (e.g., eggs and milk), either? Ironically, it was the cost to humans of exploiting animals. In Foer's book, he talks at length about the environmental devastation wreaked by factory farming as well as the deadly bacteria and other diseases that fester in the filthy conditions on factory farms. Portman was so fired up about these issues that she used the "S" word—twice. "Factory farming of animals," she says, "will be one of the things we look back on as a relic of a less-evolved age."
Coincidentally, an essay by Foer himself (the first in a two-part series) was posted today on CNN.com. In it, he talks about the link between the surge in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and—surprise!—the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics on factory farms. Did you know that eight times as many antibiotics are fed to factory-farmed animals as are taken by humans? Yeah, me neither.
Both pieces are great reading—and they're apparently getting people thinking: Natalie Portman's essay has already generated more than 1,000 comments. You can read Portman's essay here and Foer's essay here. Eating Animals hits bookstores next week.