Daily Archives: May 26, 2010

Musings on…. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows


Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism

Carnism is defined here:

In her groundbreaking new book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explores the invisible system that shapes our perception of the meat we eat, so that we love some animals and eat others without knowing why. She calls this system carnism. Carnism is the belief system, or ideology, that allows us to selectively choose which animals become our meat, and it is sustained by complex psychological and social mechanisms.

Like other “isms” (racism, sexism, etc.), carnism is most harmful when it is unrecognized and unacknowledged. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cowsnames and explains this phenomenon and offers it up for examination. Unlike the many books that explain why we shouldn’t eat meat, Joy’s book explains why we do eat meat—and thus how we can make more informed choices as citizens and consumers.


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley [quote from book]


She discusses the three N’s of justification of eating animals: eating meat is normal, natural and necessary.

The three N’s act as mental and emotional blinders, masking the discrepancies in our beliefs and behaviors toward animals and explaining them away if we do happen to catch on.

and also

the Cognitive Trio of objectification [viewing animals as things], deindividualization [viewing animals as abstractions] and dichotomization [viewing animals in categories] distorts are our internal perception of reality.

The first part of the book sounds like any other pro-veganism book, describing the horrors of animals abuse and slaughter.

The second half gets more interesting as she gets into the psyche of why we eat meat and how we rationalize it, even after knowing its bad for humans, animals and the earth.

Good little book, I read it in 2 nights.

It still amazes me after reading these kinds of books how humans can continue on this horrific cycle of using and abusing life for its own greedy prideful end.