Book Review: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows  »


As I vegan, I know very well why I love dogs, don’t eat pigs and don’t wear cows. I would just as easily adopt a nice pig or sheep or cow if it could fit in my tiny NYC apartment. But for those of us who ever wondered how it became OK for some to live this way—to choose to eat one kind of animal and not another—there’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, Ph.D. In her book, Melanie sheds light on a belief system she calls carnism, which allows us to select which animals become our meat (not us, but those other idiots who eat meat), and how it is sustained by complex psychological and social mechanisms. She compares carnism to other “isms” such as racism and sexism, saying that it is most harmful when unrecognized and unacknowledged.

Unlike other books that explain why we shouldn’t eat meat, hers explains why people do and how we can make more informed choices as citizens and consumers (i.e., not eating meat!). It was this reverse-psychological aspect of the book that made me really enjoy it. Dr. Joy explains that we have been conditioned to act and feel a certain way toward animals, and different kinds of animals at that—hence the title. She touches on different aspects of carnism, explaining not only how meat is a harmful ”mythology,” but also how it can be destructive to our bodies. In addition to the really smart narrative, the book contains resources like websites, movies and books for those looking to further explore veganism and animal rights. This one will be going on my shelf right in between Diet for a New America and Face on Your Place. That is, after I pass it along to all my non-vegan friends.

[image via Cute Overload]

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