Excuses 101: The Psychology of Meat Eaters Who Claim to Love Animals - Mercy For Animals
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Excuses 101: The Psychology of Meat Eaters Who Claim to Love Animals

A recent Slate article points out the contradiction in loving some animals while eating others, citing a new paper in the journal Appetite detailing people’s four primary justifications for eating meat.

The author explains:

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.

This combination—eating meat while being opposed, in principle, to the acts that are required for meat-eating to take place—suggests that omnivores come up with psychological ways to justify their dietary habits.

Led by psychologist Jared Piazza of Lancaster University, a team of researchers is exploring the ideas introduced in Melanie Joy’s famed book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism.

These groundbreaking ideas include what have been dubbed the “Three N’s of Justification. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ve likely heard these excuses before:

“It’s natural to eat meat!

“It’s necessary to eat meat.

“It’s normal. Everyone does it.

The research team has added its own fourth justification:

“Meat tastes nice.

The authors of the study surveyed almost 300 individuals, asking them to give three reasons why it’s OK to eat meat. As expected, the majority of the responses fell under one of the “4Ns. But notably, “necessary, the easiest of the 4Ns to disprove, was the primary justification given.

Not only is eating meat completely unnecessary—even the USDA affirms that vegan diets are suitable and healthy for all stages of human development—it also contributes to a host of other problems, including climate change and animal abuse.

Luckily, eating a compassionate and delicious vegan diet has never been easier. Click here to get started.