The common lie meat eaters need to stop telling themselves

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Sunday 07 August 2016 13:00
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Meat eaters who try to justify it on moral grounds are incorrect, and that's just science.

Many meat eaters, when asked why they eat some animals and not others respond that they wouldn't eat an intelligent animal, because it's immoral.

Pigs are an inconvenient truth. They're as clever if not cleverer than dogs, but outside of the Far East a dog is only on the breakfast table if he's misbehaving, unlike pigs who are considered to be one of the most edible animals in the world.

A study by scientists from the universities of Lancaster and Edinburgh tested this inconsistency. In one study they established that many meat eaters consider the intelligence rule to be a very important one. However, subsequent studies found that while people think that learning about pig intelligence will lead to high levels of moral concern, when they themselves learn about pig intelligence, moral concern remains low.

This happens because humans tend to use what's called 'motivated reasoning'. Essentially, the pork is too damn tasty to give up, but humans want to pretend their meat eating has a moral dimension to it. Humans reject logic which goes against their 'gut' instinct. Motivated reasoning works in the other direction as well, when we readily believe information which supports our preexisting views.

How the study worked

The study used a fictional alien species called 'trablans' which were herbivores that lived in herds. Half the participants in the study were told that the trablans were intelligent enough to use tools and master some language, and half were told that they were not bright at all. When told that the trablans were going to be eaten (not out of necessity but in order to elongate a fictitious space expedition), over 90 per cent of those who thought the trablans were smart were against eating them, compared to only 60 per cent who thought the trablans were unintelligent.

Yet when this moral rule was applied to eating pigs, the participants frequently looked the other way, or rejected the information. The study found that while they thought another person would change their mind once they learnt pigs were intelligent, they didn't change their own mind about the morality of eating pork.

In conclusion?

Meat eaters who use this excuse need to admit they're just cloaking their taste for dead animal in retrospective logic.

To avoid being called a fool, you're better off saying:

'I eat pigs because I am king of the food chain and I am comfortable with breeding animals for slaughter and then consumption as food. I do it because I want to, and I can.'

Graphic, but at least that isn't moral malarkey.

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