Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows
An Introduction to CarnismBook - 2010
Examines the rationalizations used by humans to condone the slaying of certain animals for food and clothing, describing inhumane practices of animal slaughter, healths risks, and myths about meat eating.
An animal rights advocate, Joy (psychology and sociology, U. of Massachusetts-Boston) argues not that society has removed some animals from the category of food, but that people are socialized into denying food animals the integrity they acknowledge in humans and other animals. Eating a few select animals is considered normal, natural, and necessary, she points out, and it is not eating meat that has to be explained and justified. She discusses how things are said to be and how they really are, other causalities besides the animals, internalized carnism, bearing witness, and other aspects. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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, ageism, etc.), carnism is most harmful when it is unrecognized and unacknowledged. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows names 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.
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Violent ideologies require willing participants, and most Americans would not willingly harm animals. Thus, people must be coerced into supporting the system. However, coercion is effective only as long as it remains undetected. We must believe we are acting entirely of our own volition when we purchase and consume bodies of animals; we must believe in the Myth of Free Will.
Even were the economy dependent on carnism, one must wonder whether this dependence would justify the continued violence. For most people, it would not.
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