Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows



"Never underestimate your power to change yourself."
~Dr. Wayne Dyer

What is the belief system that enables us to love some animals and eat others? Social psychologist and professor of psychology and sociology
Melanie Joy calls our underlying assumptions about meat eating (eg, that
it's natural for us, it's a given, and it's the way things are and the
way they've always been), carnism. This pervasive ideology is
ingrained in us from earliest childhood by our parents, teachers,
friends, and community. Insidious industry slogans that proclaim that
"Milk does a body good" and "Meat is Real Food for Real People,"
continuously condition us into believing that without animal products,
we would wither and die (or at the very least, become sick or frail).
How ironic, when just the opposite is true.

In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows Joy reminds us how
these messages further ingrain in us the false belief that eating
certain, "inferior" animals is ethical and appropriate. But why only certain
animals? Why is a pig thought to be less intelligent than the family
dog? (Actually, pigs are even smarter than most dogs.) And why do we
believe that certain animals like chickens and fish are not capable of
feeling pain and fear, when science and logic tell us that they do? Such
cultural ideas are transmitted and repeated over and over, spreading
like viruses—duplicating and infiltrating every aspect of our lives.
They become so completely entrenched in us, we never stop to think about
the impact our adherence to carnistic ideology has on ourselves, the
animals, or the planet.

Ten billion animals are (deliberately) slaughtered for food in the US
every year. While the vast majority of them either have feathers or live
in the sea, how many of us know that each year millions of
factory-farmed egg-laying chickens suffer uterine prolapse or death by
wood chipper? How many of us know that hundreds of billions of dolphins,
sharks, sea turtles, seals, whales, and other "nontarget" fish get
tangled in nets and hooked by long-lines, are thrown back into the
water, and left to slowly bleed to death?

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." ~Voltaire

Such enormous disregard for life is made possible by our attachment to carnism, an ideology that is, as Joy points out, an oppressive cultural
mind-think, as noxious as racism. In the same way that Nazis were able
to murder Jewish children and then go home and hug their own sons and
daughters, we cause the suffering of cows, pigs, lambs, turkeys,
chickens, and fishes, eat their bodies, and then hug our dogs and cats.

But Joy does not lead us on this journey into mass delusion without also
providing a light to guide us out of the darkness. She reminds us how
all systems of violent oppression depend on both their invisibility and
our ability to dissociate or find elaborate rationalizations to keep
from recognizing the suffering of socially sanctioned inferiors. In Why
We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows
she unmasks the underlying
mythology that keeps us chained to carnism, and by naming and witnessing
it, offers us a clear path from apathy to empathy.

Views: 53

Replies to This Discussion

Wow! This is an issue with so many facets...and one that I have personally looked at from many of them. I am also embarking on a sustainable life-style, so I will be taking a more immediate hands-on involvement in these decisions.

Let me start with the decisions in my early twenties. I wanted a career as a veterinarian. I adore animals and have, at times, felt that they were more trustworthy than the humans in my life. I was a vegetarian.

Later, I became pregnant with my first child and craved roast beef. She is now more of a vegetable eater. With my second child, I craved vegetables, cheese and bread. He is now a definite meat and potatoes person.

For awhile, in my thirties, I lived a life that allowed me to spearfish...and my diet was mainly seafood and vegetables.

Fast forward to today, I am pretty mainstream in my food choices...with a strong bent for healthy, fresh, local foods. Last year, I took a Holistic Nutrition course...only to discover that the instructor was a Carnivore who advocated rather adamantly the Paleo Diet. He and I did not agree on most everything about diet. But I learned from my peers and took a long hard look at my personal diet...so it was a good learning experience.

In the near future, I plan to own and work a five acre farm. I plan on growing all my own foods. Meat presents a dilemma for me. I know that I would not like to raise and nurture an animal, then slaughter it. I would more likely hunt and fish than slaughter a pet. I do not eat eggs, because I am allergic to them. Any rattlesnake that crosses my path will probably end up in pot....LOL. Certainly, the amount of meat that I will eat will be greatly reduced. I have always felt that we should be closer to our food, so that the sacrifice (even of plants) is part of our awareness and gratitude for life. I could have easily been Jainist with a little more sensitivity.

This article is definitely food for thought.

This is one of the many absurdities of people...the truth is that all animals have intelligence which is often times alien to humans. I watches a program where a pig with absolute judiciousness saved the life of its land lady while the dog was standing about barking. As a vegan I condemn people's insanity who have pets and at he same time eat  the meat of other creatures. I think if someone claims to live in Love , at no rate, must they eat their brothers and sisters , the animals. A professor took the liberty to name those individuals MORAL SCHIZOPHRENICS for their inconsistency of behaviour. People should really think about this contradiction.

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