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“Oh, I know animals suffer, but I love my steak”: The self-serving resolution of the “meat paradox”


Original HERE

From Psychology Today, Animal Emotions Blog
Marc Bekoff

Many people continue to eat animals knowing they’re consuming misery …

There’s no doubt that billions of factory-farmed and other animals suffer for our gustatory delights, most of which are unnecessary. Now, a new study shows just how far people will go so that they can continue to eat animals who needlessly wind up at the end of their fork. Steve Loughnan of Kent University in the UK and his colleagues discovered that “people who wish to escape the ‘meat paradox’ i.e. simultaneously disliking hurting animals and enjoying eating meat, may do so by denying that the animal they ate had the capacity to suffer.”

While some people stop eating meat when they learn that animals suffer an overwhelming majority do not, and continue to enjoy their steaks knowing well that they’re eating pain and misery. They simply deny moralstatus to the sentient beings who wind up on their plates as if all’s just fine. This very important study shows “when there is a conflict between their preferred way of thinking and their preferred way of acting, it is their thoughts and moral standards that people abandon first – rather than changing their behaviour. ‘Rather than change their beliefs about the animals’ moral rights, people could change their behaviour,’ Loughnan said. ‘However, we suspect that most people are unwilling to deny themselves the enjoyment of eating meat, and denying animals moral rights lets them keep eating with a clear conscience’.”

I wonder just how clear they’re conscience is. When I was writing my book The Animal Manifesto I continually talked with people who told me “Oh, I know animals suffer, but I love my steak.” They went on to offer lame excuses such as “I just can’t stop eating meat even when I think about the misery for which I’m responsible.” Sure they can. It’s so easy it’s laughable to think that they not only deny sentience to the animals they consume but also deny that non-animal alternatives are readily available, even “fake meats.”

And it’s also essential to remember that cows, pigs, and sheep who are unrelentingly tortured on their journey to and when they temporarily reside on factory farms are no less sentient than companion dogs or cats. Most people – likely all people – would not let their companion animals trade places with these most unfortunate beings.

We always must remember it’s not a matter of “what’s” for dinner but “who’s” for dinner as we routinely and wantonly slaughter sentience for unneeded meals to the tune of billions of animals per year. Surely we can do better and it’s really easy for most of us to stop consuming pain and misery.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandy permalink
    February 27, 2011 3:03 pm

    Perhaps the answer lies in discovering how to in force humane treatment. In some ways,likeHsus theory on elimination of pets, once we no longer need them, they will cease to exsist.


  2. Tucker permalink
    February 27, 2011 5:54 pm

    LYING A~HOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    MAKES ME THROW UP!!!!!!!!!!


  3. EvilestGem permalink
    February 27, 2011 6:06 pm

    Lets start eating domestic animals


  4. February 27, 2011 8:04 pm

    While humans are apparently among the more clever of the animals (in some ways) we also appear to be among the most brutal, sadistic and violent. A combination of qualities that wreaks havoc on our fellow Earthlings and the Earth itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. February 28, 2011 5:45 am

    people are followers, people learn from others, and some have their own mind, blame money most of the time, because that buys thoughts, and ignores suffering,, good post


  6. Jill permalink
    February 28, 2011 12:09 pm

    I don’t disagree with how cruel animals are treated and processed for food in most situations. It makes me sick. If we had to actually kill animals ourselves, I’m sure most of the people starve to death. All they see is packaged meat at grocery stores, and people don’t think twice that they actually came from live animals that feel pain and fear like us human beings.


  7. Melissa permalink
    April 23, 2015 9:07 pm

    I don’t care what your cause or statement may be that picture is sick and uncalled for.


    • Jamiei permalink
      May 3, 2015 9:41 am

      You may think it is sick and uncalled for, but it is a reality. We as humans would not eat pet dogs, but they have proved that pigs are just as intelligent and loving, so what is the difference. You just don’t want to look at it. That is what is sick and uncalled for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 3, 2015 4:07 pm

        I totally agree with you why should it be wrong to show a dog cut up but it’s ok to show a pig? If you don’t get it, you really need to have a rethink!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jamiei permalink
      May 3, 2015 9:44 am

      You may think it i s sick and uncalled for, but it is a reality. We as humans would not eat our pet dogs, but they have proved that pigs are just as intelligent and loving. So what is the difference? You just don’t want to see it. That is what is sick and uncalled for.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. October 19, 2015 4:00 am

    that dog looks delicious



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