Why do we love domestic animals such as dogs, cats, sheep, chickens, cows so much, but we "choose" some to be eaten?
Psychologist Melanie Joy, an expert in human behavior, has been trying to explain why. From a psychological point of view, how can people eat certain animals while ignoring the cruelty with which they are killed.
The psychologist, who is now a vegetarian, used the concept of “carnism” in her doctoral thesis to describe “the ideology that makes us behave every day in a way that is totally contrary to what we would like, and not even, "We perceive that we have options, participating in the suffering of animals," he said in an interview with BBC News Brazil.
As is known, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat animal meat and a vegan who does not eat meat or other products of animal origin. This includes eggs, honey, dairy products and, also, refraining from using products such as clothing and cosmetics, of animal origin
The main reasons for the rise of both vegetarianism and veganism around the world are the cruelty that animals go through to become food and the impact of livestock on the environment, in addition to health issues.
But not everything is flowers, or better, plants in that discussion. There are controversies about the validity of these reasons, as animal protein is necessary for certain organic functionalities, since its adequate replacement is not always easy to keep in check.
Also, plants are said to feel pain too:
Although there is much controversy about veganism, Joy argues that people should be as vegan as they can be, which means consuming as much plant-based foods as possible.
Although in certain parts of the world stopping eating meat has economic and geographical implications (in addition to cultural ones, of course), in several others it is even easier to be vegan.
VEGANISM IS RELIGION? THE ONE WHO CAN CHANGE IF JUSTICE UNDERSTANDS THAT IF
“In the United States and in Berlin, for example, it is very easy to eat vegan food. I suggest that people be as vegan as possible. It doesn't mean eating lettuce forever, ”she says.
“In the United States and in Berlin, for example, it is very easy to eat vegan food. It doesn't mean eating lettuce forever, ”she says.
On the environmental impact of meat production, other foods have also unbalanced the environment, such as quinoa, whose production has increased so much in the Andes that in recent years it has led farmers to plant and replant without respecting the period of rest from the ground. Something that has been happening, too, in the Amazon with the soybean plantation, originating from deforestation.
From the point of view of individual contribution to the environment, a recent study from the University of Oxford (England) states that reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products helps a lot. According to the survey, meat and dairy products account for 18% of the calories we consume and 37% of the protein, but they use 83% of the land used for agriculture and produce 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. .
How does "carnism" work psychologically?
For Joy, carnism acts in our mind, distorting our perception and our feelings, as a defense mechanism that disconnects us from empathy with critters. This makes us go against our own moral values.
One of those psychological defense mechanisms is distancing:
“We do not feel the disgust, the sadness that we would feel if we saw the animal being killed. An example of this mechanism is deindividualization: we see bugs created to be eaten as if they were all the same and had no individuality or personality. " A pig is a pig and pigs are all the same “, we think, that is not true, it is as ridiculous as saying that dogs are all the same, but if we do not recognize that they have preferences, objectifying them, seeing them as things, everything makes it more it is easy to get away from their suffering, it is an invisible ideology, you see the world through that lens.
Another danger of carnism is making the vegan way of life pass as unnatural through the stereotypes created by the media, by the laws, by nutrition.
What to do?
Study, read, evaluate and follow your intuition and your wish. Connect with your values to think if vegetarian or vegan food can be adopted in your life abruptly, or if you prefer to make conscious substitutions at your own pace.
Without wanting to force the bar, to "save the planet", you can try to be less consumer, stop buying as much as possible products packaged in plastic and plastic things in general, reduce water consumption, waste zero food, use less car, etc. Now, if we are going to speak in paradoxes, the question remains, why is dog, cat, horse or rabbit more loved and less appetizing than cow, pig or wild boar? In Italy you eat horses, in India the cow is a sacred animal, in China you eat everything ... Think about that 🙂
By Gisella Meneguelli
Original article (in Portuguese)