Home » Animal Products & Psychology

On the Claim That “Humane Meat” Leads to Veganism

If someone tells me that he buys all of his flesh from a “humane” butcher and all of his lacteal secretions from a “humane” dairy farmer, this tells me that he is the sort of person who cares about animal suffering and wants to do what he can to reduce it. He has, however, been misled into thinking that what he is purchasing is the product of merciful treatment towards animals, when it in fact involves tremendous cruelty and harm to animals, and he is also (from a logical standpoint) less likely to become vegan than he was before, because he has managed to mollify his conscience by purchasing the “humane” product. Continue reading

The Matrix of Carnism

While most of us are preoccupied with what everyone else is doing and thinking, the message of the Matrix mirrors what Sophocles also taught millennia ago: think for yourself. The only way out of the mental prison of the Matrix is to question what you’ve been taught. Overcome denial and face the truth. And then stop supporting slavery in all of its manifestations because it is the very reason why the Matrix got you under its spell in the first place. Continue reading

Meat: Our Language of Objectification

“Meat” is the language of objectification — an attempt to turn a “someone” into a “something.” By referring to an animal as “meat,” the meat industry seeks to create a moral vacuum in the minds of consumers, a complete disconnection between the animal’s identity and their flesh product. “Meat” is their packaged commodity, presented just like all the other products on the store shelves, divorced from the living individuals they once were Continue reading

The Fluther Transversion: Awakening to An Animal Rights Epiphany

The Flūther Transversion, with its catalyst(s), flood of memories, deep anguish, and alienation, may also be followed at some point by a sense of energy and renewal. It may be an often-transcendent feeling of all the “pieces” of one’s life — of one’s anxiety, one’s compassion, one’s lack of focus — suddenly falling into place. If before the epiphany of the Flūther Transversion, you had felt useless, or trivial, or nagged by a sense of inadequacy and wastefulness, now suddenly you may have a vigorous sense of purpose. Continue reading

The Memory of Meat

One of the most potent reminders of how much I’ve changed is the smell of grilling meat from a Persian restaurant that I pass almost daily. It is a smell that I used to associate so positively with countless social gatherings, holidays and traditions. With the knowledge I have now, these memories have been intercepted by scenes of very young animals in the last moments of their very short lives who are in a state of great fear and confusion as they are led down a kill line to meet an untimely, unnatural and violent end. Continue reading

Why Compassion Should Be Species-Blind

As a psychotherapist, I occasionally come across professionals who and organizations that research and promote empathy, compassion altruism. I eagerly read about their efforts in the hope that their work will include our relationship with all animals, human and nonhuman. So far, I have found their focus to be on human-to-human relationships only. I decided to write to people, doing this research and at different organizations, to encourage them to see the necessity of including all sentient beings, human and non-human, when understanding and promoting empathy, compassion and altruism. Unfortunately, I don’t expect much of a response, but we have to keep knocking at the door of people’s conscious. Continue reading

How a Book about Animals Changed My Life

Imagine aliens visit our planet and decide to stay. They are bigger, stronger, smarter and faster than we are in every way. If they aren’t naturally more advanced, their technology is. The aliens can live without doing harm to us, but they can choose to do great harm. There is no way for us to protect ourselves from them, let alone over-power them. All we can hope for is their mercy. Continue reading

A Tribute to Motherhood

On Mother’s Day, we honor mothers, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Attachment Theory, a theory of child development, recognizes the importance of the relationship between a child and her primary caregiver. John Bowlby, affectionately referred to as the father of Attachment Theory, developed this theory by studying evolutionary biology and ethology, in addition to psychology. In fact, it was Lorenz’s imprinting study with geese that showed that attachment behavior is innate and important for survival. Continue reading

What Lies Between Almost Vegan and Vegan?

I meet a lot of people that are very close to being vegan (or at least that’s what they tell me). And I know many people as well that consider themselves mostly vegan in terms of their diet. It’s always very encouraging and commendable to see people standing up for what they believe in, even when the status quo isn’t on our team yet. Nonetheless, I find myself often asking, what keeps them from making the small leap to becoming a proud, confident and out vegan rather than one shyly hovering on the threshold? Continue reading

Why Horsemeat Is Delicious and Disgusting

The recent horsemeat scandal, in which consumers discovered that the meat they had eaten was from horses rather than cows, has caused nothing short of an international outcry. The unwitting horsemeat consumers (as well as the general public) had a powerful, visceral reaction to the idea of eating the flesh of a different species than the one they had believed would be in their food, and this collective reaction was one of disgust and moral offence. Continue reading

When We Suddenly See the Same Things Differently

“I watched this video with growing anxiety as I saw what I already knew to be true but had never seen. Thanks to you and Animal Place, I am ready to be freed from the last bondage of consuming animal products. I’ve thrown away the eggs and cheese in my refrigerator without a moment of regret. My quest now will be to become educated about a vegan diet. I have shared the video Turlock on Facebook and email. I am so grateful. This is the push I needed, painful tho it was.” Continue reading

Understanding the Mind of the Backyard Butcher

It’s easy to be outraged at these slaughterers. It’s harder to understand, however, why they do what they do. It’s not because they are bad people. One of the most difficult aspects in covering the human-animal relationship is that so often very good people do terrible things and have no idea that they are complicit in structured evil. It is thus all the more critical that advocates work to identify and communicate the psychological and rhetorical strategies that prevent a more authentic assessment of what it means to kill an animal that you do not have to kill. Continue reading

Shooting of Four Workers at Slaughterhouse and the Connection between Violence to Animals and Humans

Last month, an employee at a slaughterhouse in Fresno, California walked into work, pulled out a gun, and shot four people, two of them execution style, before attempting to take his own life. Coworkers, many of whom described the suspect as “nice” and “respectful,” claimed to be puzzled by this outburst. The president of Valley Protein, the abattoir where the shooting happened, declared the incident to be a “random act.” Continue reading

Survey Says, Not in My Backyard!

A recent survey conducted by the Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter found that a majority of Oakland, California residents living in the areas with the highest number of livestock animals opposed the practice of keeping and slaughtering animals in backyards residences. The survey was conducted in Oakland districts one and three. A majority of those surveyed oppose backyard slaughter (52% in district one and 55% in district three). Continue reading