Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, by Melanie Joy.  Conari Press, 2009.

Ideally qualified to investigate the mindset that permits humans to mistreat and eat so-called “food” animals while lavishing love and expensive veterinary care on dogs and cats, the author is a social psychologist and professor of psychology. She describes the suffering not only of the factory farmed animals, but of slaughterhouse workers, people living near factory farms who become ill because of the factories’ waste products, omnivores who consume a variety of pesticides, hormones, deadly viruses and feces in their meat, and us taxpayers who are subsidizing it all. Meat inspection, which most omnivorous people think is protecting them, is either a joke or nonexistent. It really makes you wonder why a system so hazardous to our health and the environment has continued and in fact, worsened, for so long without a major public outcry. Which is just what the author sets out to explore, in ways that were new to me.

For example, “the three Ns of justification”–Normal, Natural and Necessary. All violent ideologies, such as the Nazi Holocaust, have had to convince the populace of the three Ns. A society must get its legal system and news media to support a system of violence, which ours definitely does in its complete acceptance of meat-eating. Then there are the three defenses the author calls the Cognitive Trio: objectification, deindividualization, and dichotomization. A fascinating discussion. The book ends with a section of resources for transitioning to a meat-free diet.

Anyone concerned about the hazardous and cruel American way of producing meat will find helpful information here along with encouragement to be part of the solution.

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