Denying mental qualities to animals in order to eat them

(Medical Xpress) -- New research by Dr Brock Bastian from UQ's School of Psychology highlights the psychological processes that people engage in to reduce their discomfort over eating meat.

This paper will be published in an upcoming edition of the , where Dr Bastian and his co-authors show that people deny mental qualities to animals they eat.

"Many people like eating meat, but most are reluctant to harm things that have minds. Our studies show that this motivates people to deny minds to animals," Dr Bastian said.

The research demonstrates when people are confronted with the harm that their meat-eating brings to food animals they view those animals as possessing fewer mental capacities compared to when they are not reminded.

The findings also reveal that this denial of mind to food animals is especially evident when people expect to eat meat in the near future.

Dr Bastian said it shows that denying mind to animals that are used for food makes it less troublesome for people to eat them.

"Meat is central to most people's diets and a focus of culinary enjoyment, yet most people also like animals and are disturbed by harm done to them; therefore creating a 'meat paradox' - people's concern for conflicts with their culinary behavior.

"For this reason, people rarely enjoy thinking about where meat comes from, the processes it goes through to get to their tables, or the living qualities of the animals from which it is extracted," he said.

Dr Bastian's research argues that meat eaters go to great lengths to overcome these inconsistencies between their beliefs and .

"In our current research we focus on the processes by which people facilitate their practice of eating meat. People often mentally separate meat from animals so they can eat pork or beef without thinking about or .

"Denying minds to animals reduces concern for their welfare, justifying the harm caused to them in the process of meat production," he added.

Meat is pleasing to the palate for many, and although the vegetarian lifestyle is increasingly popular, most people continue to make meat a central component of their diet.

"In short, our work highlights the fact that although most people do not mind eating meat, they do not like thinking of they eat as having possessed minds," Dr Bastian said.

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Skepticus
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 25, 2011
This is simplistic Euro-centric view. Ask Asian dog eaters and they will tell you dogs are intelligent creatures, but they still enjoy eating dogs anyway because it tastes good!
rawa1
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 25, 2011
I's rather say, the tendency to eat everything what is just moving is a sing of primitive cultures in general. http://www.youtub...3kr3ckYE
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (4) Nov 25, 2011
[]I's rather say, the tendency to eat everything what is just moving is a sing of primitive cultures in general.
So you don't eat microbes?

Vegetarians are just people who don't eat animals visible to the naked eye. A rather arbitrary distinction. (ome don't even make that distinction by including fish in their diet but not meat)

We are products of evolution (omnivores). Claiming that a balanced/healthy eating habit is a matter of choice or culture is the act of someone who completely disregards physiology.

Yes, I'd rather have lab-grown meat sooner than later instead of the farming of animals. But until then we shouldn't try to apply morality and ethics over and above the applicable scope to thes areas.
Mauricio
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 25, 2011
We are predators, we have frontal view, just like cats, canines and other predators. We are not prey like deers and rabbits.

It amaze me how people can decide not to eat meat, and not only that, they take on not feeding meat to growing children. And when they encounter bigger children raised with protein, they get mad!!!! they want the whole human race to get short and unhealthy. Vegetarianism is destructive to humans.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (3) Nov 25, 2011
Hmm, as a chef and an animal lover, this is something I had to resolve a long time ago.

Everything eats everything else, from birth to death, it's just how it is, like the Oroboros.

There's absolutely no shame in eating, nor shame in being eaten :)

I composted several deer in Pa and used the compost on organic crops, that really threw the veg-heads on the farm for a loop...
rawa1
1 / 5 (4) Nov 25, 2011
So you don't eat microbes?
I'm considering them as a plants or fungi, so I've no problem with killing and eating these lovely furry creatures.
We are products of evolution (omnivores)
It has nothing to do with eating of some animals. Most of nations don't eat the other predators (cat, dogs) from good reason: the higher these animals in the food chain are, the more they cumulate the prions and toxic chemicals from life environment.
rawa1
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 25, 2011
Not to say about economical effectiveness of such food: the higher the animal in food chain is, the more the eating of its flesh destroys the life environment.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 25, 2011
It has nothing to do with eating of some animals. Most of nations don't eat the other predators (cat, dogs)

The article has nothing to do with eating predators. It only talks about meat (at one point it talks about cows and pigs). I don't know where you get that angle from.
rawa1
2.5 / 5 (6) Nov 25, 2011
We are predators, we have frontal view, just like cats, canines and other predators.
The apes are living from plant food and they've frontal view too. The reason of this view is in upright posture, which enabled to turn head effectively. Many animals living on trees have frontal view too (and they're typical herbivores).
Everything eats everything else, from birth to death..
You're just fabricating reality. Most of animals are strictly specialized to their food. We aren't typical meat eaters, as our ability to digest meat isn't very high by our very nature.

http://www.news.c...89982696
rawa1
2.7 / 5 (6) Nov 25, 2011
For example, the rats laugh, when you tickle them or when they play a game mutually. They've feelings, they can feel happiness.

http://www.youtub...dmRGFVNM
Eric_B
5 / 5 (5) Nov 25, 2011
"We aren't typical meat eaters,"

Children, you say 'OMNIVORE". Sound it out...om-nee.vor...!
antialias_physorg
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 25, 2011
Given our physiological makeup we are probably closer to meateaters than to herbivores. We lack all those enzymes that can break down plant matter or the ability to re-chew our food.

That's why eating raw vegetables is pretty pointless for humans. Yes, they contain lots of vitamins - moreso than their processed/cooked variations - but our digestive system is totally unable to get at them.

Always remember:
Usable content of a thing is: Amount you put in MINUS amount which comes out unused (be it calories, vitamins, ... ).

Looking at the length of our intestinal tract we're much closer to predators:
(Predator have a 4:1 to 6:1 ratio of body length to length of intestinal tract - with humans having a 5:1 ratio. Herbivores are more in the 12:1 (horse) to 20:1 (cow) range). Similar differences exist taken the total surface areas as a ratio.)

Also there's a number of unsaturated hydrocarbons we need for the brain which can only be gotten via animal products.
dan42day
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 25, 2011
I happen to believe that animals have very vivid emotions along with some amount of self-awareness and many are able to enjoy complex social lives. I also love to eat them, they are very tasty! I don't have a problem with this because I am able to understand that this is all part of the natural world we live in.

I do have a problem with factory farming where the animals live miserable lives waiting to be slaughtered. That's why I get much of my meat from local butchers who offer products from small local farms that treat their animals with respect and raise them free of un-necessary antibiotics. It costs more, but it is worth it to me.

These animals would not have gotten the chance to experience life if they had not been raised by humans for food. The end of their lives comes quickly with little time for suffering in contrast to those species that live in the wild (or even most of us humans).

These people need to stop taking Disney so seriously, the Lion King was not a vegan!
Skepticus
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 26, 2011
That's why eating raw vegetables is pretty pointless for humans. Yes, they contain lots of vitamins - more so than their processed/cooked variations - but our digestive system is totally unable to get at them.

I usually agree with your insightful posts, but I have to disagree on this. There are scores of studies that showed the benefits of consuming fresh vegetables. According to you, eating fresh salads is a waste of time and money - millions around the world will beg to differ. Without going into details, consuming processed food and plenty of read meat (as per popular western diets) has been shown times and again as the fastest way to get colon cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and a whole lot more.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2011
According to you, eating fresh salads is a waste of time and money - millions around the world will beg to differ.

There is a reason why we put vinegar on salads (or cook vegetables). It is a form of 'pre digestion' (just like spider dissolve their prey outside their bodies before sucking up the remainging goo). Vinegar (or heat) break down the sturdy cell walls in vegetables and allow us to get at the nutrients. Vitamins A,D,E and K are also only soluble in oily substances (this is why we use oil in salads or cooking fats like oil or butter). Without that we can't really get at them.
Cooking and using chemicals like vinegar to help in digestion is all right.

But chowing down on a raw carrot is pretty pointless if you think you're going to get any vitamins that way.

As an aside: Most salads are pretty devoid of vitamins to begin with. They are big leaves. No point for a plant to put valuable resources in there.
Tachyon8491
2 / 5 (4) Nov 26, 2011
We talk about animal "meat" but human "flesh" - even though they are undoubtedly equally nutritious... Personally I prefer not to eat anything that had a mother. We translate animal maternal care into our gustatory joy too easily. There is but a tiny step between carnivorism and cannibalism - purely by definition. We are no longer Cro-Magnon, we have evolved spiritually - life needs to consume life, no doubt, but where we address that continuum with teeth is a matter of choice... How can there be any doubt that carnivorism is more primitive than vegetarianism? Btw, ALL dietary components, without exception, can be obtained from a proper vegetarian diet. Everything that lives has the right to a full, natural life - to curtail that for "eating" is philosophically repugnant in the extreme. Then again, it's up to the psychospiritual calibre of the individual to be able to see that - and Cro-Magnon minds are incapable of this - that's their phase of evolution. Exercise choice...
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2011
We talk about animal "meat" but human "flesh" - even though they are undoubtedly equally nutritious

From a purely practical point of view huamn flesh would be optimal. After all: what do we try to do with the stuff we eat? We build human flesh out of it.
Human flesh should contain the most perfect mix of stuff we need to build our own.

Btw, ALL dietary components, without exception, can be obtained from a proper vegetarian diet.

B12 and iron are really some things which you cannot get in sufficient quantities even through the most well balanced vegetarian diet (much less a vegan diet). The reason why people don't notice is because adults have a large reservoir of these - which can last for years until depleted. This is why it's criminal negligence to raise kids on a vegetarian diet (they don't have these reservoirs yet)

Certainly we can reduce our meat intake drastically from what is the norm - but eliminating meat is going too far.
Callippo
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2011
Vinegar (or heat) break down the sturdy cell walls in vegetables and allow us to get at the nutrients.
You're just inventing stuffs by now. Soaked with winegar in edible concentration, the salad appears as fresh, as after soaking of water. Not to say, many fruits are acid in the same way, like the vinegar of edible concentration. Regarding the heat, it helps the digestion of meat nutrients in the same way, like the digestion of salad.
Sinister1811
3 / 5 (4) Nov 26, 2011
A balanced diet is important. I think you'll find that plant-based foods are just as important to one's health as ingesting meat from animals. Eric B is right - we are omnivores. We should eat both meat and vegetables.
dan42day
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 26, 2011
From a purely practical point of view human flesh would be optimal.


Yes, and if we process it into small green wafers and say it's made from plankton, maybe even the vegetarians would eat it!

Hmmm, what should we call it...
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2011
Sincere benevolence for all life starts where all rationalizations to eat all life is no longer needed.

If all food stuff were to be synthesized, then rationalizations to eat life become meaningless.

Imagine an effort to rationalize all synthetic food stuff.
An effort as great as the rationalizations for all plastics.
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2011
Very few prerequisites are require if you want to inhabit the rest of the universe. If you synthesized life and food you are in the proper frame of mind and ready to explore whatever the rest of the universe has to offer. Without this frame of mind the rest of the universe will make no sense.
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2011
" You're just fabricating reality. Most of animals are strictly specialized to their food. We aren't typical meat eaters, as our ability to digest meat isn't very high by our very nature. "

You missed the point, like Ray Charles target shooting.

Find one organism, on earth, who's body is not constantly consumed and rebuilt throughtout it's " life ". Then maybe explain why you seem to think that a collection of lives ( a body ) is a singular life belonging soley to you.

It's not, that's an illusory quality based on egotistical thinking.

You think you aren't being eaten right this very minute ?

I would disagree.
Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Nov 27, 2011
You think you aren't being eaten right this very minute ?
?? Yea, men... you're right, now I can feel it clearly. My bacterias are eating me alive and warming my belly during it...

So - I've actually no problem with the consummation of animals in such a pleasant unobtrusive way. Why I should have, after all?
ziphead
1 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2011
The way I deal with this is by asking; if I was an intelligent but otherwise helpless brain-fruit plant, would the cow hesitate?

I think not.
Nerdyguy
4 / 5 (4) Nov 30, 2011
Vegetarianism is destructive to humans.


Ummmm....really? Where's the big body of evidence supporting this ludicrous claim?

Let me guess. It comes from the Ronald McDonald research institute for meat-eating society-builders.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2011
Very few prerequisites are require if you want to inhabit the rest of the universe. If you synthesized life and food you are in the proper frame of mind and ready to explore whatever the rest of the universe has to offer. Without this frame of mind the rest of the universe will make no sense.


What kind of psycho-babble, higher-order-of-life philosophical nonsense are you spouting here?

First, I don't think there's any reasonable chance we'll be inhabiting the "rest of the universe" anytime soon. Hell, we're lucky if we can get a probe to land on Mars without a malfunction. So, I think we have a few years to work on our philosophical underpinnings.

Second, how the hell would you know what the "proper frame of mind" is for exploring the universe?

Are you claiming to be an alien lifeform, come here to teach us about how to eat properly?
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 30, 2011
Vegetarianism is destructive to humans.

It's not exactly destructive but it's not constructive, either.

The metastudy from 1999 concluded that the only difference is in ischaemic heart disease where vegetarians came out better than meat eaters. Bizzarely fish eaters have an even lower risk.

Even though the heart disease value is significant the study was only adjusted for age, sex, and smoker status while acknowledging that excercise level was higher in the vegetarian group. And I think that there area number of studies out there that show that excercise has a positive influence on the risk for heart disease.

Basically it boils down to: vegetarians don't live longer or healthier - they just die of different causes.

If you want to go vegetarian for perceived philosophical, ethical or environmental reasons (less resources per Btu of food produced) - fine.

But for health reasons? That's just kidding yourself.
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2011
Vegetarianism is destructive to humans.

It's not exactly destructive but it's not constructive, either.


Even as a meat-loving carnivore (OK, I eat a few veggies), I'm well aware that there is a very large body of research over decades supporting a low or no-meat diet as a means of extending life and living what life you have with greater health.

Wait, is your last name Atkins by any chance?

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 30, 2011
Here's the link to the meta-study. See for yourself.
http://www.ajcn.o...16S.full

The lifestyle has no significant impact on the cause or prevalence of death (except heart disease - and as noted: fish eaters were even better off than vegtarians in that regard).

People who had turned to vegetarian living for less than 5 years before entering the study even had an increase in cause of death by lung cancer.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2011
Here's the link to the meta-study. See for yourself.
http://www.ajcn.o...16S.full


Random thoughts:

1) Are you just pretending to be unaware of the many, many, studies that have been published in some of the world's most-renowned peer-reviewed journals over the last 50 years that claim just the opposite?

2) The AJCN isn't exactly JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). It's been criticized for lack of standards (below), but the 1999 study was widely reported. The study was also roundly criticized.
http://www.weight...ons.html

3) A good summary of multiple studies. http://www.facebo...80077549

4) Another good summary. http://veganhealt.../dxrates

Anyway, I'm getting ready to have chicken stir-fry for lunch, so what do I care...

Silverhill
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
Tachyon8491:
Everything that lives has the right to a full, natural life - to curtail that for "eating" is philosophically repugnant in the extreme.
So, you only eat plants (and perhaps animals) that have died of old age? Rather tedious, I'd say, considering the scarcity of such things.
Do you propose setting up "natural death" farms so that humans can have enough to eat from organisms that have lived without interference?
And what do you propose to do about natural predators, who make a practice of killing and eating prey that therefore has not had the chance to live a "full, natural life"?