Carnism; why Eating Animals Is a Social Justice Issue?

Remy Darkin asked 6 months ago
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Expert Staff answered 6 months ago

Carnism; Why Eating Animals Is a Social Justice Issue?

Why love one species and eat an equally sentient creature of another? Research has proven that plants contain all the nutrition and vitamins that our body needs (Bosworth, 2008 p.g 112).  Eating animals is not a necessity; when it is not a necessity, it becomes a choice. Our choices regarding animals and diets are shaped by our perceived differences in species and their nutritional value.  There are some reasons this habit and culture came to be. Initially, most of us did not choose to eat meat; it was a given. We continue the habit, almost mindlessly, accepting it as normal. According to Dr. Joy, Carnism is the unseen belief system that makes individuals to eat certain animals. Veganism is the opposite of Carnism, as “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” refers to a belief system (Joy, 2017).As a result of being invisible, most people seldom realize that eating animals and its products is a choice.  We are unaware of how carnism impacts us, and without awareness, there is no free choice. “Most people do not want to see or support unnecessary violence towards another sensitive being. According to (Joy, 2017), carnism is a system of oppression in which unnecessary harm is inflicted to billion of individuals who are perceived as weak by those in power or with power. Would you eat certain animals that you don’t typically consume? Carnism why Eating Animals Is a Social Justice Issue?

Luke, Arluke, & Levin, (1997) notes that people who mistreat animals are more likely to mistreat humans. According to a study carried out by the MSPCA and Northeastern University every year, several perhaps thousands of animals in the United States are victims of malevolent cruelty, why don’t most animal abusers not taken to court?  (Luke, Arluke & Levin, 1997). Psychology has failed to shape the general treatment animals other than humans. It is documented that over 10 billion animals slaughtered for meat in 2001 which is a social justice issue. This convenient ignorance or public support of these acts has seemed to worsen the situation, and if no intervention is put in place, some of these animals might end up being extinct. In an interview, slaughterhouse employees admitted that some of the methods used in killing these animals include boiling alive, strangling, beating or dismembering of these animals such as pigs, all animals should be protected from such treatment (Joy, 2005 p.115). It is more of discrimination of certain species thus a social justice issue.

Joy, (2005) Observes that most vegans, especially in France, have come together to teach people animal ethics as the eating of animals is a social justice issue. The vegans call for behavioral change as the eating of animals leads to a lot of suffering to them. Through an investigation, it was discovered how inhumanely animals are killed for meat in French slaughterhouses. Just like there are movements against social injustices like racism, veganism is also a movement that addresses a social justice issue, eating of animals (Ophelie, 2016 p.766). They fight for rights of animals just like other movements fight for rights of humans.

Eating of animals goes against the current cultural norms as it leads to ethical concerns as noted by (Bosworth, 2008 p.2). Vegans dissuade the eating of animals due to this, and that is why scholars believe they are fighting for cultural level change (Bosworth, 2008 p.2). It is a social justice issue since it leads to exploitation and cruelty to animals. Therefore, by eating them, one goes against the morals f the society (Bosworth, 2008 p.6). They want the cultural change in the society to be realized regarding how people use animals. Therefore, vegan organizations are trying to educate people about the cruel treatment of animals as it is a social justice issue. Instead, it encourages people to show compassion and respect to the animals as they do to humans.

According to (2015 P.467), all sentient organisms are entitled to proper treatment. If rights of any of these beings are being violated it results to be a social justice issue be it a human or an animal. Therefore, by eating of animals requires that they are slaughtered first, and this is a violation of their rights just like the killing of humans is. Animals have moral entitlements, and this means that they have rights just like human beings, killing them violates their rights hence not a nice thing as observed by (Jones, 2015 p.468). Also, their moral status is connected to justice hence killing them for food results in a social justice issue. Justice requires that all living organisms whether non-humans or humans are treated equally. Animals just like humans are part f a society thus have social entitlements too.

Most people ignore information when it matters a lot t to them, and that is why most Western countries are against dog meat, but they consume pork (Piazza and Loughnan, 2016 p.868). This is a clear indication that they show that they are aware that eating of these animals is a social justice issue, but since they eat some of these animals they ignore to touch on them and focus on those mistreated that they do not consume. To them, some animals deserve a ‘moral standing’ while others do not. That is why vegans are not in support of these Western claims as they are hypocritical (Piazza and Loughnan, 2016 p.867).

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Bosworth, B. (2008). SPREADING THE WORD: COMMUNICATING ABOUT VEGANISM(Unpublished master’s thesis). The University of Colorado.
Jones, R. C. (2015). Animal rights is a social justice issue. Contemporary Justice Review, 18(4), 467-482. doi:10.1080/10282580.2015.1093689
Joy, M. (2005). Humanistic Psychology and Animal Rights: Reconsidering the Boundaries of the Humanistic Ethic. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 45(1), 106-130. doi:10.1177/0022167804272628
Joy, M. (2017). WHO WE ARE | BEYOND CARNISM. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jul. 2017].
Luke, C., Arluke, A., & Levin, J. (n.d.). PAWS – People Helping Animals. Retrieved July 29, 2017, from
Ophélie, V. (2016). (Extra)ordinary activism: veganism and the shaping of hemeratopias. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 36(11/12), 756-773. doi:10.1108/ijssp-12-2015-0137
Piazza, J., & Loughnan, S. (2016). When Meat Gets Personal, Animals’ Minds Matter Less. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(8), 867-874. doi:10.1177/1948550616660159

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