The Secret Reason We Eat Meat

Ask any meat eater why people eat meat and they’ll tell you it’s delicious, that eating meat is not only natural but also normal and necessary. Ask Dr. Melanie Joy the same question and you’ll get a much darker—and interesting—answer: a violent ideology has convinced them they must do it.

That ideology is carnism, the opposite of veganism. Never heard of it? That’s exactly her point.

“Carnism is a dominant ideology, which means it’s embedded deeply in society to the point that it’s considered ‘just the way things are,’” Joy explains. “But just because something isn’t recognized or is viewed as ‘how things are’ doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Racism wasn’t recognized as a problem or ideology at a point in history but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. It [carnism] has just been around for so long that it’s taken for granted.”

Joy, a Harvard-educated psychologist, had her theory made popular in a TEDX talk in early 2015. A former “meat lovers pizza girl” who would make sure her pizza had all types of meat in it, she turned vegan after being hospitalized for eating bacteria infested meat. The reason behind her deciding to ditch animal products wasn’t initially the animals themselves, but soon after, she began seeing them as sentient beings, not products. That’s when she began her research on what drove people like her former self to eat them.

“When we’re born into a world with a dominant ideology, we can’t help but see the world through that lens,” she says of how kids whose parents eat chicken wings, for example, will start seeing chicken as a natural food option. “There are people in this world who absolutely need to eat meat because geographically or socially, that’s where they are. Most people, though, have a choice when it comes to eating animals, they’re just not aware if it because they’re blinded by the ideology.”

Those blinders come from both inside and outside ourselves, she says. From the outside we have agro-businesses taking strong measures to make sure people don’t know how violent and cruel the process of making meat actually is, calling a cow a hamburger, a hen chicken wings and a pig hot dogs. From the inside, we convince ourselves eating meat is normal, necessary and natural by reminding ourselves people have done it for years.

The only way to break the cycle is then to make the ideology visible, she argues. Look at undercover footage of factory farming, see how those animals are treated, learn about how an animal becomes a hamburger, a chicken wing or a hot dog.

The first step in that chain of events is for people to first acknowledge that there is an ideology, however. That was her goal with the TEDX Talk and now an animated video she recently released — and it’s working.

Her presentation, ‘Beyond Carnism and Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices,’ has become one of the top one percent most viewed TEDX talks of all time and she has presented it in five different continents.

“It’s really exciting the shift of consciousness that’s happening around the world,” she says. “A lot of people are asking how they can make more ethical choices.”

But is it enough to trump an industry that kills 77 billion animals for flesh and body parts to be sold for food? Joy thinks so.

“I have no doubt veganism will replace carnism one day,” she proclaims. “Look at the other -isms that have come before like sexism and racism. Carnism is so contrary to humans and their values. Most people genuinely believe in values like compassion and not causing harm unnecessarily. Carnism goes directly against all of those values. When people become aware and freely choose how they participate in these systems, they start saying ‘no.’”

Photo Credit: ThinkStock Photos

554 comments

Christina Wilson
Christina Wilsonabout a year ago

So Gerald L., you don't believe that the Earth is on the brink of disaster? All of your eloquent words will not change the fact of what is happening to this planet. If people like you have your way, in a few years the Earth will be just one gigantic parking lot.

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Gerald L.
Gerald Labout a year ago

Dang i have been missing out on the Downer Chronicles of Doom. The sage of vEgo ethics and morality with his proposal of global dicktatorship plus culling of humanity is blowing his trumpet from his mountaintop with his dog unleashed harassing and killing wildlife. Is your dog neutered and vegan mr downer?



Ref; Mark Donner about a month ago
we would surely have all of the former meat animals spayed and neutered, and then give them a comfortable retirement. That program of spaying and neutering should include about five billion excess humans. Humans do not have a right to overpopulate and then destroy all life on Earth for their unlimited greed and stupidity. Sorry, no rights for that are given.



Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-secret-reason-we-eat-meat.html#ixzz48u40ntiF

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Marc P.
Marc Pabout a year ago

Codruta Onaga: Your comment is by far the most bigoted, narrow minded, self centered piece of tripe I have seen in a long time. You are a presumptuous ass and a real jerk. YOU are such an asshole. YOU are the self-centered, selfish scumbag here. According to you every person on the planet who eats meat "have no capability to understand, to feel, refuse to see the truth, are too self centered, too selfish..." I may be many things. But thank God I am not as sleazy, narrow minded, bitter, and judgemental as you. On behalf of meat eaters world wide, kiss our ass you piece of crap.

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Marc P.
Marc Pabout a year ago

Codruta Onaga: Your comment is by far the most bigoted, narrow minded, self centered piece of tripe I have seen in a long time. You are a presumptuous ass and a real jerk. YOU are such an asshole. YOU are the self-centered, selfish scumbag here. According to you every person on the planet who eats meat "have no capability to understand, to feel, refuse to see the truth, are too self centered, too selfish..." I may be many things. But thank God I am not as sleazy, narrow minded, bitter, and judgemental as you. On behalf of meat eaters world wide, kiss our ass you piece of crap.

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Codruta Onaga
Codruta Onagaabout a year ago

Vinita, you did not made a aware choice, it was planted in your brain as a baby, when your mother first made a puree from meat. You miss the point...
Meat eaters don't see behind their guts because they have no capability to understand, to feel, refuse to see the truth, are too self centered, too selfish to make the change.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Marc P.
Marc Pabout a year ago

Norma L.: Regarding your comment, "I hope that people awaken to the facts that we humans are not made to eat the flesh of animals. I consider eating animals as canibalism."

You are as nutz as Mark Donner! I sincerely hope you are both in some locked asylum.

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Marc P.
Marc Pabout a year ago

Mark Donner: You are a freaking whack job. get help.. People like you are exactly why many vegans are universally despised and have no credibility. You're freaking bonkers. Perhaps a little meat in your diet will restore the chemical balance in your brain and give you hope for recovery.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donnerabout a year ago

Animal "agriculture" (as humans call one their massive atrocities on the Earth) :

"is the leading cause directly and indirectly to deforestation, water pollution, desertification, erosion, human obesity, rainforest/habitat destruction, 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction due to animal agriculture, we are currently living in the earth's 6th mass species extinction the first human induced, livestock and it's feed covers 45 percent of the land on this planet excluding ice caps, dead zones in oceans from over fishing, and the UN predicts that the number of farm animals will double by 2050 yet despite meat being the most inefficient way to feed the human race the world grows enough food to feed 10 billion people yet because half is fed to animals to eventually kill. Such an imbalance is created that 800 million people go malnourished in the world and about 7 million die from hunger each year"

Now the question is: Do most of the overpopulated human monkeys care about this? The answer is a resounding NO. Because this is what they WANT!

But the joke's on you, humanity.. there are countless milllions of life planets in the universe, where life will remain pristine and will live on without EVER seeing the human disease. Humans will be extinct and food for the worms of Earth (assuming that Earth survives the human holocaust, and that the nightmare of humanity doesn't destroy the once sparkling variety of life that Earth once hosted with a human created holocaust. That

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Mark Donner
Mark Donnerabout a year ago

Theoretically, humans COULD live on livestock in a humane way that didn't harm the environment. THAT WOULD BE CHEESE AND DAIRY FROM COWS THAT WERE NEVER RAISED TO BE KILLED AND ALLOWED TO LIVE OUT THEIR NATURAL LIVES ON GREEN PASTURE. THAT WOULD INCLUDE THEIR CALVES STAYING WITH THEIR MOTHERS. IF TOO MANY MALE COWS (BULLS) WERE BORN THEN TOUGH, LIMIT THE BREEDING AND LET THE BULLS LIVE. SAME THING APPLIES TO UNFERTILIZED EGGS FROM CHICKENS. NO CHICKS OR ROOSTER KILLING, CHICKENS RAISED WITHOUT BEING KILLED ON GREEN PASTURE WITH NO HERBICIDE/PESTICIDE POISON. There's plenty of animal protein for those obsessed with animal protein. NO INHUMANITY OR KILLING INVOLVED. The inbred cruelty disease and desire to kill all life which is INBRED in human nature is what would make them reject the humane option, what makes the human disease want to breed into the billions and what makes humanity salivate about their inbred desire to destroy this planet.

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