TEDx Talk on the Psychology of Eating Meat

Highlight: The breakdown of "carnism," a cultural construction that Dr. Melanie Joy, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, explains over the course of a twenty-minute presentation. She provides a clear warning, but please note that from 9:45 to 11:40 there is a very graphic portion detailing typical animal cruelty at even allegedly 'humane' slaughterhouses.

Her breakdown of carnism works as a three-pronged attack of justification (myths) using the "3Ns - normal, natural, necessary." Then denial (invisibility) via "invisible ideology, invisible victims." Finally, it concludes to exist through cognitive distortions or "abstractions."

It's a very eye-opening explanation, one that's very difficult to argue with - our cultural development and environment create a narrative of 'normalcy' and arguments that continue to justify this norm, alongside denial, which given that most of us aren't working in a slaughterhouse or living near one removes the image of, say, male chick culling, pig and cow slaughter, caged chickens, etc. This makes empathy a hard thing to realistically experience without going out of one's way to view it firsthand or via the internet, which isn't a pleasant experience most would seek out and if it doesn't exist in our lives it simply mustn't exist, right? Finally, we come to cognitive distortions, which consist of our false perceptions of the concept at hand rather than the reality. Those cows are happy on the farm that's going to slaughter them, in fact, let's just think of them as happy cows, there's nothing negative, it's just like the packaging, and it's way better than the cruelty of nature.

Be warned, this is the kind of video that changes your perception because you're faced with exactly how your thinking is or has been manipulated, possibly most of your life (certainly the case in my own life).


Ryan is a practicing vegetarian that writes and trains/teaches grappling (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & wrestling) full-time. Ryan's goal is to educate readers about the political and environmental state of the world, and how that long-standing model of living affects the world around us. Ryan especially likes digging into what we eat, how we get said food, and the aftermath of this very large and political process.

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