Peacegal's Reviews > Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy
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's review
Feb 18, 10

Read from February 16 to 18, 2010

A significant contribution to the dialog on animal protection, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows seeks to answer a fundamental question that has alternately fascinated and frustrated me for many years: How can most Americans fret over Fluffy's runny nose and weep over Bambi's mom while simultaneously supporting and defending the flagrant abuse of billions of farm animals by the meat industry?

While no book may be able to indisputably define humans' complicated and contradictory relationships with all other beings, this slim volume will no doubt help readers better understand the average "carnist" mindset. I found the many quotes and examples throughout the book enlightening and at times darkly humorous, such as reprinted selections from comments on the ASPCA blog. The ASPCA had written about the use of dogs as food in Korea, which provoked a flurry of comments about the "satanic" nature of such an industry. The ASPCA also happens to be one of the last major humane groups to still serve meat at its functions, and, as the author implied previously in her chapter on customary American farming practices, the dogs' treatment is almost identical to factory farmed pigs, chickens, and cattle.

As noted earlier, this is a short book, and the author begins to falter toward the end, when she tries to cram in too many facts and statistics on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian. Although I understand the motivation, it makes for choppy and repetitive reading for those of us who are already herbivores. Although the writer aims the book toward omnivores in hopes of encouraging them to rethink their dietary practices, sadly, this may be wishful thinking. Because, let's face it, the average American doesn't want to question his most ingrained habits. He simply doesn't want to know so he can go on loving dogs, eating pigs, and wearing cows.


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