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“Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan Essay

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Updated: Mar 15th, 2020

With the enormous growth of human population, so did the need to consume more food. Animals are now farmed for the specific purpose to be fed and later, killed to be eaten.

The modern society has given way to activists who protect the rights and fair treatment of animals. Many people are vegetarian and refuse to be added to the carnivore group. Even though the production and processing of farm animals have become more “humane”, it is still rather controversial.

“Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” by Michael Pollan explores the subject of chicken farms and how they are treated before consumption. Presently, many stores sell food that is labeled “organic, naturally grown, free range”. This means that animals are given space to run free, eat food that does not contain chemicals and have proper “housing”.

When examining the specific example of chickens, there are several types that can be seen in stores. Some chickens are kosher, blessed by a rabbi, some are sold for the Asian population and these chickens have their head and feet present, as compared to the “natural market” chickens which had their head and feet removed (Pollan, 2007).

The population is very much preoccupied to know that the chicken they eat had a chance to run around and ate nutritious, as well as healthy food. But does it really matter how chicken spent their short and prematurely ended life when in the end, they are still grown for the sole purpose of being killed and sold as food. The fact stays true that people need to eat but the idea behind the way humanity consumes and produces meat stays grim.

The relationship and the balance people have with the animal world and nature has drastically changed. People have become dominant and destructful in their ways, treating the planet as subordinate which leads to abuse and disrespect. Previously, humans had a unique relationship with the surrounding environment, where animals were treated much differently.

Today, people rarely think about the life of an animal when they come into the store and buy a piece of meat. There is no respect towards the food and life of a living organism that provides energy for people. Long ago, animals were treated as a “gift” of nature, creatures that shared the planet with humanity and deserved to be honored with thanks.

In present times, some cultures have kept their respectful positions towards animals that are key to human survival (Kalof, 2012). It is one thing when a family or small community has their farm and it is a complete opposite when there are plants and factories that mass produce the live stock. People have become desensitized to the killing and consumption of domesticated animals.

Humanity became lazy to hunt its food and pay proper respect to nature. All goals and dreams are now centered on uncontrollable reproduction, greed, profit, and abuse of the natural resources. The balance between people and nature shifted to individuals and personal gain. The majority must have more than needed, thus draining the energy and life of the planet.

The way people live their lives has greatly shifted in the negative direction, in a short amount of time. Animals have become inferior and unnoticeable. It is crucial that societies implement immediate changes to avoid a complete moral crash.


Kalof, L. (2012). Making animal meaning. East Lansing, United States: MSU Press.

Pollan, M. (2007). Omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York, United States: Penguin.

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IvyPanda. "“Omnivore's Dilemma” by Michael Pollan." March 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/omnivores-dilemma-by-michael-pollan/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "“Omnivore's Dilemma” by Michael Pollan." March 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/omnivores-dilemma-by-michael-pollan/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '“Omnivore's Dilemma” by Michael Pollan'. 15 March.

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