Award winning author and Harvard educated psychologist Dr. Melanie Joy made her critically-acclaimed presentation on the ethical issues behind animal slaughtering and consumption of meat and animal products on Oct. 24 in the University Center.
Joy combined various elements from themes in psychology such as consciousness and human nature along with videos displaying animal cruelty to make her case for why carnism, the belief that animals exist solely for the purposes of human consumption and entertainment, presents serious ethical problems.
During the presentation, the audience was repeatedly asked to question themselves and the choices they make in food consumption.
Questions such as why cow meat is edible but golden retriever meat is not, why cow milk is acceptable but horse milk is not, and why chicken eggs are acceptable but pigeon eggs are not presented ethical and moral choices for the audience to consider.
Joy said that many people justify or deny the value of animals and attributed this phenomenon to cultural practices conditioning humans to allow a gap to form in their conscious. This gap supposedly renders humans blind to the moral questions she would expect animal consumption to raise.
“When I stopped eating meat, I felt the gap in my consciousness close. I saw the same things differently. My mind opened,” Joy said.
The presentation continued with a short video displaying animal cruelty in the meat packing industry, showing animal killings in the form of mutilations without anesthesia and brutal executions. Industry statistics indicate that more than 17,000 terrestrial farm animals are killed per minute in the meat industry.
“Humane meat is a contradiction. Humane meat is a myth,” Joy said.
According to Joy, animals aren’t the only victims of carnism: humans suffer as well. Whether coping with injuries sustained in the poor working conditions of the slaughterhouses or incurring desensitization to killing, Joy said that humans also reap the consequences of meat-dominant culture.
She concluded her presentation by describing the meat industry as a ”house of cards” supported only by societal conditioning to tolerate animal cruelty and by saying that veganism is the rise.
The event was accompanied by a vegan snack table and followed by a book signing for her latest work “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.”