“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.” – Adolph Hitler
In the award-winning book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explains why we, as compassionate and loving human beings, make the decision daily to eat and use some animals (cows, pigs, chickens, for example) but care for and not eat others (dogs or cats – at least not in the United States).
Coining the term, Carnism, the belief system or ideology that conditions people to eat animals, Melanie Joy exposes the lies we have been told to believe and explains why we think we have free will, when in fact, our freedom of choice has actually been eliminated. She discusses how the primary defense of the system of Carnism is invisibility – we do not see what happens to animals before they hit our plate. Invisibility reflects the defenses avoidance and denial and is the foundation from which all other mechanisms stand.
After a thorough summary of what occurs behind closed doors to animals worldwide, Dr. Joy brings to light why eating animals is believed to be normal, natural and necessary, and why “free will” (as it relates to animal consumption) is actually a myth.
She also highlights the mechanisms of psychic numbing in addition to the aforementioned denial and avoidance: routinization, justification, objectification, de-individualization, dichotomization, rationalization, and dissociation. Melanie Joy concludes with how we can move from Carnism to compassion for all living beings.
As an ethical vegan (a person who does not believe in using, wearing, or eating animals and their byproducts), I thoroughly found this book fascinating! It was easy to read and understand the concepts Dr. Joy presented. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the vegan lifestyle, and especially to those who want to learn about the psychological reasons why we eat and use some animals and not others, or to those concerned about the destruction of our only planet and how Carnism contributes to that.
A bit about the author, Dr. Melanie Joy:
Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M. is a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a celebrated speaker.
Dr. Joy was the eighth recipient of the Institute of Jainology’s Ahimsa Award (past recipients include the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela). She also received the Empty Cages Prize. Dr. Joy’s work has been featured on stations and programs including National Public Radio, PBS, the BBC, Radio Canada, Germany’s ARD Luxembourg’s RTL, ABC Australia, Good Morning Croatia. Her work has also been highlighted in many publications includingThe New York Times, Canada’s Le Soleil, and The Huffington Post Quebec.
As founder and president of Carnism Awareness & Action Network, Dr. Joy has given her critically acclaimed Carnism presentation across the United States and in sixteen other countries. In addition to Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, she is also the author of Strategic Action for Animals, other books, and has written a number of articles on psychology, animal protection, and social justice.