Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

An Introduction to Carnism : the Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Publisher: San Francisco : Conari Press, 2010
ISBN: 9781573244619
Branch Call Number: 641.36 J845W 2010
Characteristics: 204 p. ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 27, 2017

A few of my favorite quotes:

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
...MAHATMA GANDHI, attributed, The Welfare of Animals: The Silent Majority

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.
...CHIEF SEATTLE OF THE SUWAMISH TRIBE, letter to President Franklin Pierce

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
...ELLEN DEGENERES, attributed, Women Know Everything!

Dec 22, 2017

Amazing book, extremely eye opening. It will change your life overnight.

Mar 14, 2015

This is hands down my favourite animal rights book. It is amazingly written and puts into consideration societies "love for flesh". Melanie Joy has coined this psychological phenomenon as 'Carnism'. She is to the point and concise. I recommend this to anyone who wants to read more about veganism, compassionate living and animal well being. Please go vegan and help put an end to animal use and abuse everywhere. We feel pain, and so do animals. We are all connected and how we treat other beings reflects upon our society.

"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

roaddogg09 May 20, 2013

Melanie Joy came to my college campus recently for the Earth Day lecture on campus. I've been a vegetarian for over five years, so Melanie Joy's lecture about the harms of eating meat didn't need to win me over. With that in mind, I still learned quite a bit from the talk, which made me want to run out and pick up her book.

Every family gathering and even nights out with my friends, I am always bombarded with silly (but sometimes serious) questions having to do with why I have chosen a vegetarian diet. I usually leave it at "for ethical reasons" then move the conversation along. As anyone who has been or is a vegetarian knows, there can be some pretty silly questions thrown your way.

Joy discusses in the book what she calls "carnism," which is an -ism she created to stand next to vegetarianism and veganism. Like the latter two, these -isms come with outlooks and certain moral views. Carnism is what Joy calls the ability to come to love and cherish certain animals while consuming other, equally sentient creatures. There seems to be a gap in people's thinking about the animals they live with and love and those animals were categorize as mere objects for our consumption.

Joy discusses what the gap is, why it exists, and what we can do about it. The gap exists because the culturally dominant view is that eating meat is okay and something we've always done. Many people don't give two thoughts about what is on their plate. Sure, on one level they know it's a pig or a cow, but they never make the connection between the hunk of meat on your plate and the animal that it came from. This leads to the second aspect of her book: why the gap exists. The gap exists for many reasons, but the main reason is that animal agriculture is hidden away from public view. You could be arrested and charged as a terrorist for attempting to find out what goes on at factory farms. By keeping us away from the reality of killing animals for food, we're able to distance ourselves from the vast amounts of suffering for culinary preferences. Finally, Joy discusses what we can do about the gap in our thinking, by becoming informed.

Like stated above, I didn't need to be won over, but Joy definitely highlighted the cognitive dissonance I see going on in people's minds. For example, a friend is currently enrolled in a contemporary moral issues course, and after completing the animal rights section, she admitted that eating meat was morally wrong but she couldn't will herself to stop. The lack of will is exactly the gap Joy discusses. People don't critically think about their food choices. When we sit down to dinner, we choose what to eat. These choices are made within a moral framework, and if one wants to have a consistent moral framework, one must recognize the gap, understand why it exists, and change behavior accordingly. It is only by a kind of special pleading can one explain away their food choices in one breath while snuggling next to a dog.

"Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be?" - Jonathan Safran Foer, author of "Eating Animals"

Feb 05, 2012

This books defines carnism, the dominant food system of our time. It also examines why it is so difficult to choose non-meat based foods (the 3 N's of 'natural, needed and necessary, which are all myths). She ties the violence of our carnistic lifestyles to the harm done to everyone in society, whether you are a slaughterhouse workers who drinks to cope, a resident in a 'meat-packing' community, or a taxpayer who doesn't even eat meat. Violence is hidden from those who might question - whether it was the Jews in Nazi Germany or today's abattoir. Whether you are a meat-eater or not, you will find this book thought provoking. Written by a Harvard graduate, it puts years of research into a highly readable (for the most part) book.


Add a Quote

Feb 05, 2012

Violent ideologies require willing participants, and most Americans would not willingly harm animals. Thus, people must be coerced into supporting the system. However, coercion is effective only as long as it remains undetected. We must believe we are acting entirely of our own volition when we purchase and consume bodies of animals; we must believe in the Myth of Free Will.

Feb 05, 2012

Even were the economy dependent on carnism, one must wonder whether this dependence would justify the continued violence. For most people, it would not.

Feb 05, 2012

Americans tend to take in twice the amount of protein they need...Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract and some cancers.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at TPL

To Top