Why do we love some animals, and eat others? An award-winning video by Beyond Carnism encourages us all to consider this question. The video portrays La Table Suisse as the first European restaurant to serve cat meat. Viewers soon learn that this restaurant is actually fictitious. However, the video draws parallels with millions of similar restaurants that do exist. The only difference is the meat being served; that is, the meat of animals we have been taught to find acceptable such as chicken, pork, and beef.
The outrage in response to this fictitious restaurant mirrors the reactions to the all-too-true whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands and Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Many of us are appalled by the notion of eating whale or dog meat; yet, is there any logic to this if we find eating other animals acceptable? What enables us to pat our dog with one hand and eat a pork chop with the other?
The term carnism describes the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is a dominant and violent ideology unaligned with core human values such as compassion and justice. It condones the mass slaughter of trillions of animals each year, and is so deeply embedded in societies across the world that we lack awareness of its influence.
By collectively decreasing the global demand for animal products, we can begin to transition to more rational and compassionate food choices. Veganism is the alternative and counterpoint to carnism. We can each move along this carnism-veganism continuum as best as we can, eventually creating a vegan world together. Without awareness, there is no choice; therefore, the first step is to raise awareness of carnism. Find out more here.
*Images courtesy of Beyond Carnism.