Perspective: Jesse Singal of CNN did an article on how meat-eating is rationalized amongst omnivores, beginning with a bit about what’s universally understood as the odd-man-out in the mentality of most meat-eaters:
Whatever your personal stance on vegetarianism, it’s hard to deny that there’s a paradox inherent to eating meat. Most meat-eaters have at least some qualms about hurting or harming animals. Not only do many omnivores have pets, but many of them also would never want to even see the process by which the animals they eat are killed, let alone take part in it themselves.
Last week we did a post on the TEDx Talk by Dr. Melanie Joy that began our dive into “carnism,” the mentality that allows normal, moral people to allow the meat industry to exist as it does, largely due to a “what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me” mentality.
Psychologist Jared Piazza, operating under the guidelines that Dr. Melanie Joy laid out in her book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, ran a study based on Joy’s “Three Ns of Justification,” that eating meat is natural, normal and necessary – but threw in “nice” as well (e.g. “hamburgers taste good”).
Then, it was on to the surveys: The authors ran a bunch of them for this paper, and in the first two they simply asked two samples of survey respondents — 176 UPenn undergrads in the first, 107 American Mechanical Turk workers — to generate three reasons why it’s okay to eat meat. The question was asked in an open-ended way that wouldn’t tip the respondents off as to the purpose of the survey. The results, with the first survey on the left and the second on the right:
The newly-formed 4N’s were the overwhelming response to the survey. Singal’s conclusion is as follows:
As with other forms of behavior, omnivorism is rooted in a web of social norms, habits, and a bunch of other stuff that exists more at the gut level (no pun intended) than at the level of careful, rational thought. Those looking to reduce meat consumption will probably have better success targeting these influences than simply serving up a cold plate of bland facts.
Original article & image source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/25/health/rationalize-eating-meat/