Carnism makes people hypocrites
No one wants to be dishonest, but judging by the theory of carnism, this is every day.
Carnism was defined by world-renowned psychologist and anthropologist Melanie Joy. In her bestseller Why Do We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Dress Cows? explores the social impulses of prevailing eating habits. Many people have ever wondered about an exotic tribe that feeds on insects, but Joy’s goes a step further and radically questions the idea of eating animal meat and other foods of animal origin.
Things are like that
We rarely wonder why we live the way we live. In fact, we don’t even have to, as society provides us with various patterns of appropriate lifestyle. Thus, we have been taught from an early age that marriage is appropriate, that it is desirable to have children and, above all, to have a job that suits you. Because that’s the way things are. Waves of feminism and years of struggle for human equality have already challenged these patterns, making the image of a single black childless director in her forties increasingly acceptable.
According to activists for the equality of all beings, it is now the turn of animals. In Switzerland, the state has already designated the first animal welfare ombudsman. This made them one of the first countries in the world to consciously and actively care for the interests of animals. The Swiss realized that the inferiority of animals is a social construct. “The world isn’t talking about carnism yet because such a mindset is taken for granted,” says Melanie Joy, who welcomes the introduction of a wider range of animal rights.
Killing animals is normal, natural and necessary
Throughout history, society has developed the belief that eating animals is normal, natural and necessary. Modern animal rights activists – as well as scientists – are trying to turn these aspects upside down.
The normality of animal nutrition is a matter of social agreement and is therefore relative. Not only do different cultures have different lists of edible animals, there are even cultures that completely refuse to eat creatures and also ones that allow cannibalism. Each of them remains convinced of their own right.
The straightforwardness of eating animal carcasses is an argument that goes back to our understanding of the primary human diet. Few people know that the oldest recipe is found in the Bible, which says: “Sacrifice a young animal so that it will smell to God”. According to world-renowned historian Charles Patterson, this is one of the beginnings of an explicit justification for eating meat products. The analysis of fossilized excrement of prehistoric people shows that our ancestors ate mainly fruit.
The necessity of eating animal products goes back to the argument of health. Simply put: we will die if we do not eat meat. And yet we have a whole host of research showing a direct link between cancer and eating meat. Scientists have also found that countries with higher consumption of milk and dairy products have more osteoporosis. Research has shown that the human body cannot actually absorb calcium properly from a milk cell. Calves are able to do this because of the four-chambered stomach, and the human digestive tract absorbs calcium most easily from plant foods.
Really just food organisms?
What is socially accepted is right. Is that really so? In a series of in-depth interviews, Patterson notes that the process of dissociation between a packaged meat product and a living sentient being is in fact quite painful. “The more decapitated calves you see, the sooner you see objects in them and stop worrying,” an anonymous worker at the slaughterhouse told him dully. Probably no one would want to be in his place. And yet, with every purchase of a meat product, we support a system that allows both the torture of animals and, last but not least, slaughterhouse workers.
Approaching the awareness that animals are the same to us is difficult. “For me, animals were just moving organisms,” admits American activist Eddie Lama. Namely, animals are difficult to perceive as individuals who feel not only physical pain, but also complex emotions. Why, despite growing scientific evidence, we still see animals as inferior, explains Spanish philosopher Oscar Horta: “We deliberately suppress awareness of sentient animals. equal beings, they could not be slaughtered because they knew that murder would deprive them of a full life ”.
The invisible world of suffering
About 44 million animals are slaughtered in Slovenia every year. The number is really huge and the average Slovenian has not seen so many animals in his entire life. “Carnism can be maintained as long as it remains hidden from people,” Joy explains. This is reflected in the remoteness of slaughterhouses, as well as in polite designations such as “meat product”, “beef”, “minced meat” and the like for a product that actually means a piece of a cow’s carcass. “Humans are essentially sentient beings – just like animals – and if slaughterhouses had glass walls, they would all be vegetarians,” the most famous Beatle Paul McCartney said in a famous speech years ago. Lama, an animal rights activist, concludes, “But you know, none of these atrocities are happening because of me, and I’m making a significant change here.”