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Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism Paperback – September 1, 2011


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Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism + Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals + Eating Animals
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a penchant for melodrama, Joy (Strategic Action for Animals) offers an absorbing examination of why humans feel affection and compassion for certain animals but are callous to the suffering of others—especially those slaughtered for our consumption. She takes Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, and Jonathan Safran Foer's well-trod route and investigates factory farming, exposing how cruelly the animals are treated, the hazards that meatpacking workers face, and the environmental impact of raising 10 billion animals for food each year. She uses her factory farm–to–table narrative to buttress her real thesis: meat-eating or carnism, is an oppressive ideology as noxious as racism. Joy casts meat eating as genocide, comparable to the Holocaust, and factory farming on a par with the American enslavement of Africans. She might lose some readers in her zealotry, but there is great value in her contention that all systems of oppression depend on our ability to dissociate or find elaborate rationalizations to keep from recognizing the suffering of a socially sanctioned inferior. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"An absorbing examination of why humans feel affection and compassion for certain animals but are callous to the suffering of others." --Publishers Weekly

"I think Gandhi would have loved Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. For this is a book that can change the way you think and change the way you live. It will lead you from denial to awareness, from passivity to action, and from resignation to hope." --John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution

"An altogether remarkable book that could transform the way society feels about eating animals." --Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of The Face on Your Plate

"A thoughtful book full of substance and style. It should be required reading for anyone interested in what we eat and why." --Kathy Freston, author of the New York Times bestselling Veganist and Quantum Wellness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Conari Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573245054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573245050
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Dr. Joy explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals.
Bradley Larsen
This book will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in why people do and don't choose to eat meat.
Michael Greger
This book is so well written and comprehensive, and is possibly the very best book I have read on this subject, and I have read MANY.
Donna H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Larsen on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Melanie Joy's Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows illuminates the moral incongruence at the heart of the American diet: how we can love our pets and value kindness to animals generally, yet consume meat from corporations that severely abuse and slaughter 10 billion sentient creatures a year. Dr. Joy explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals. She points out that in the affluent industrialized world, we don't eat meat because we have to, but because we choose to. We like the taste and everybody else is doing it. Joy coins the term "carnism" to describe the belief system which holds that it is ethical and appropriate to make the choice to eat animals.

Dr. Joy notes that following a carnist rather than a vegetarian or vegan dietstyle is made less distressing by the fact that most of the billions of animals Americans eat each year are literally hidden from sight. Animal agribusiness spends a fortune creating the fiction that these animals live outside on idyllic farms. Dr. Joy encourages readers to become informed about the violence and suffering bound up with mainstream food choices, and to begin reducing consumption of animals products. She sees regaining empathy for suffering farmed animals as part of a vital process of personal and societal integration, wherein values, beliefs, and behavior come into harmony.

These ideas resonate with me because my wife and I dearly love our two cats, Justa and Justine, and our Bernese Mountain Dog, Pearl. Each one has a unique personality and shows great will power in realizing goals and desires. Like the humans in the household, they fully experience pain and suffering as well as contentment and joy.
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216 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Laur on November 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a meat eater- a carnist- my whole life,as well as a dog lover, and have been a hunter since I was 12 back in Wisconsin. I found Dr. Joy's book compelling, thrilling to read, and pointing the finger at the culture we've all grown up in, not at individuals.

I was able to take in her message because it was presented in a non blaming, non shaming way.

I may still hunt and bring home an animal to the table every now and then. I know the paradox and pain of what I'm doing for my food.I accept it even as I wrestle with it. But I will never purchase or knowingly eat another morsel of factory meat. I've been to Auschwitz and Birkenau, and seen how mechanized slaughter works, and how inhumane it is, whether it's people, pigs or pugs. Joy points out what "we" are doing- there's no blame in her tone. The systemic structure of carnism, just like the systems of racism, sexism, totalitarianism, is evil at it's core, precisely because there is no "we" there, seeing what "we" are causing to done in "our" name. Thanks to Dr Joy for sending a message to open our eyes. After reading this book, we know, and must take responsibility for our choices.Negligence starts tomorrow.

I may still hunt and kill an animal on occasion, and many will berate me for that. But I will no longer be party to wholesale slaughter.
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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Why do so many people find great delectation in their beef, pork, and chicken products but cringe at the thought of eating meat from a dog? Why can people sympathize so deeply with dogs, but remain coldly detached from the "necessary" slaughter of cows, pigs, and chickens for their eating pleasure?

Melanie Joy, a psychologist, professor, and author, explains these inconsistencies in Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. She points out that many people engage in selective empathy, feeling for some animals but not others, based on what they've learned.

She asserts that much of our beliefs about animals and what is appropriate for eating is based on illogical thinking, physic numbing, misinformation, and denial. Being told that it's okay to eat meat over and over from childhood to adulthood, being denied access to the slaughter of animals, and pushing animals' suffering from our imagination results in being a carnist, someone who eats meat, not from necessity, but from choice.

I find the author's arguments, logical, convincing, and morally compelling. If we have to force ourselves to be ignorant and block our empathy in order to eat meat, then we're fooling ourselves at the detriment of animals and our own moral integrity.

Thinking about animal suffering clearly, seeing the horrors that animals suffer without sugar-coating their slaughter with mythologies, considering the options we have as omnivores, and freeing ourselves from the lies (repeated they become false truths), and vegetarianism becomes the logical conclusion.

The author wants us to stop denying the trauma and torture that animals suffer because of many people's choice to be carnists.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Orr on January 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I discovered Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows through the well-done promotional video for the the same book on YouTube which shows a man refusing to eat what is on his plate when he discovers it's a dog, rather than a cow, pig, etc... This is exactly how most of us would react, isn't it? Joy's book goes into detail explaning how we are able to go through life with this kind of cognitive dissonance regarding our beliefs about animals. I think for those of us living in the U.S., it's a relatively easy thing to go through life in such a fog since most of us never see the suffering that animals endure who are raised for food, clothing or subjected to experiments. My eyes were opened on a trip to India a few years ago because animal suffering and exploitation is not so well hidden as it is here. I was a carnist for most of my life all the while calling myself an ardent animal lover. It took so many things, so many conversations, so much reading to shift my thinking and thereby change my life. I wish I'd had this book available to me back then. I think the lightbulb would have switched on for me sooner since Joy's book shines a very bright light on our inconsistent treatment of animals. After reading a book like this, one faces a choice - continue on as usual or begin to view all animals as being worthy of our moral consideration and respect.
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