That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals

A book made its way across my desk recently that immediately captured my attention (hard to do, these days!). It’s a creatively illustrated, well-written little book called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things by Ruby Roth, and it’s designed to help kids understand how their food choices affect other living beings and the planet. I went vegan as an adult, after reading about the horrors of factory farming, and my decision was cemented after a viewing of “Meat Your Meat.”


But it’s hard to explain to little kids why I’m vegan without painting the kind of nightmarish word picture that will land them in therapy for years to come. This book successfully tackles this tough subject with grace and clarity. Roth’s book emphasizes the importance of family, something that most kids can relate to. Roth fills the book to the brim with fascinating facts about our furry and feathered friends, such as, “Pigs need the sight, sound, and touch of one another. Sometimes they snuggle so close that it’s hard to get them apart. Love is part of their nature.” And about turkeys: “They’re so sensitive that they even blush. Their snoods change color depending on their mood.”


Children have a natural empathy for animals, of course, but these types of details reinforce that empathy and help kids to understand why it’s important to treat animals with kindness and respect. The book covers the basics of factory farming in a way that is real but not overly frightening for young readers. In a discussion of factory farmed birds, Roth says, “Crowded together, they can’t follow their instincts, so they grow sick and scared.” The accompanying illustrations are appropriately sad—but not graphic, and not traumatizing. This is a great addition to any compassionate kid’s library and will make a wonderful gift for any parents in your life who want to talk to their kids about animals but need a little help getting started.

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  • Amanda Goodwin commented on March 11, 2009 at 11:28 am

    OMG i sooo want to get this book for my daughter!!!!

  • Loren commented on March 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I have 3 children, and I have been a vegan/vegetarian for over 16 years, I can’t wait to share this book with them!!!

  • Maryam commented on March 12, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Thank you so much for bringing this book to our attention. I plan to buy several copies: one for my grandson, and several to donate to my local libraries. I wonder if the schools would be willing to put this book in their libraries too?

    I would be interested in any other books (for children and youth) that you think do a good job of putting the word out there. I have plenty of adult reading, but I find that many people my age are too set in their ways. Those younger brains are more willing to listen and embrace new ideas.

  • Tanya commented on March 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm


    I hope the version in Spanish It will be so interesting and in other languages because the childrens need to know that.

  • Maria commented on March 18, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Oh nice, I think I’ll get this book for my nephew. My sister is trying to go vegan and she plans on raising him vegan as well.

  • Tallyhop commented on March 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I am so glad there’s a book like this and thanks for letting us know. I don’t have kids yet but when I do have them, they will be raised as veg. And this book, I know will be a wonderful way to let them know the choice I made for them.

  • anne hoesch commented on March 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    this is great! i truly believe that we have to start in the nursery when it comes to changing the horrors that occur in the world with animals, children who learn to respect and love animals will not want to hurt them and will see them as viable living things with rights of thier own. this i believe is the only way to change the attitudes of humans towards animals and thier treatment. this book is a brilliant idea, i have also struggled with the question of how to explain these things to kids without freaking them out!!!!

  • nana commented on March 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    It’s an educational must for children I Hope an arabic version will be provided to spread it in the arabic countries

  • Justine commented on March 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

    what a great idea! not only are u showing animals knidness when u r veg, but youre showing your kids kindness when u take the time to explain why. kids are happiest when they what’s happening & why.

  • BETZABE ABIGAIL BARBARA commented on March 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I want this book for my nephews and nieces, is very educative and cute.
    Be Vegan!!
    Best Regards

  • Shannon commented on March 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I can’t wait to get this book. I always try to figure out the best way to educate kids about the realities of the meat industry without scaring them and this book seems perfect!!!

  • Trish Noonan commented on March 31, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for this, my little girl’s only 4 months old but I can’t wait to share this with her. Thank you for helping me find something like this. 🙂

  • Bandit a la mode commented on September 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    It reminds me of the John Robbins quote regarding children and our natural propensity towards vegetarianism. “Put an apple and a rabbit in a playpen with a 3 year old, if he pays with the apple and eats the rabbit, I’ll buy you a new car.”