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**1. Historical Context and Terminology:**
– Coined by Melanie Joy in 2001, the term ‘carnism’ emerged in the discussion on animal exploitation.
– Richard Ryder’s speciesism concept from the 1970s laid the groundwork for understanding carnism.
Carnism is likened to patriarchy as a dominant normative ideology.
– Gary Francione views carnism as a conscious choice, while Sandra Mahlke sees it as central to speciesism.
– These historical perspectives shape the understanding of carnism as an ideology conditioning people to consume certain animal products.

**2. Features and Categorization of Animals:**
– Animals are categorized differently across cultures, influencing perceptions of food sources.
– Cultural variability exists in determining which animals are considered food, impacting empathy and moral concern.
– Mental classifications of animals affect how they are treated and perceived in terms of sentience and intelligence.
– The categorization of animals as food plays a role in the meat paradox, inducing cognitive dissonance and shaping beliefs about animals’ mental characteristics.
– Taxonomies of animals are instrumental in shaping societal norms and practices related to animal consumption.

**3. Justification and Impact of Carnism:**
Melanie Joy introduced the Three Ns of Justification for meat-eating, later expanded to the Four Ns: natural, normal, necessary, and nice.
Carnism is often justified through cultural practices and traditions deeply ingrained in societal norms.
– The ideology relies on cognitive dissonance to maintain beliefs, with emotional reasons often used to justify consuming animal products.
– The impact of carnism extends beyond individual choices to significant environmental consequences, health issues, and systemic violence in the food industry.
Carnism perpetuates speciesism and is linked to systemic oppression and exploitation of animals.

**4. Narrative Examples and Non-Academic Reception:**
– Saved from slaughter narratives, such as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation, illustrate carnism and dissonance reduction in animal stories.
– Media examples like Wilbur in ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and Babe in ‘Babe’ highlight the dichotomy in focusing on animals saved from slaughter.
– Non-academic reception of carnism includes praise in opinion pieces from various sources like The Huffington Post and criticism from platforms like Drovers Cattle Network.
– The term ‘carnism’ facilitates discussions on animal exploitation but is criticized for implying a psychological sickness in eating animal foods.
– These narratives and receptions provide insights into the societal perceptions and discussions surrounding carnism.

**5. Alternatives and Solutions to Carnism:**
Veganism is presented as an ethical alternative to carnism, opposing the consumption of animal products.
– Plant-based diets are promoted as sustainable choices, with advocacy for reducing meat consumption and exploring alternative protein sources like plant-based meats.
– Education and awareness campaigns aim to shift away from carnist ideologies and promote ethical and environmentally friendly dietary practices.
– These alternatives offer pathways to mitigate the environmental impact, health issues, and ethical concerns associated with carnism.
– The promotion of plant-based diets and the advocacy for reducing meat consumption are key strategies in addressing the challenges posed by carnism.

Carnism (Wikipedia)

Carnism is a concept used in discussions of humanity's relation to other animals, defined as a prevailing ideology in which people support the use and consumption of animal products, especially meat. Carnism is presented as a dominant belief system supported by a variety of defense mechanisms and mostly unchallenged assumptions. The term carnism was coined by social psychologist and author Melanie Joy in 2001 and popularized by her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (2009).

Joshua Norton eating meat, watched by street dogs Bummer and Lazarus in San Francisco in the 1860s
DescriptionPsychological theory about the ideology of animal use
Term coined byMelanie Joy, 2001
Related ideasAnthrozoology, ethics of eating meat, psychology of eating meat, speciesism, veganism, vegetarianism

Central to the ideology is the acceptance of meat-eating as "natural", "normal", "necessary", and (sometimes) "nice", known as the "Four Ns". An important feature of carnism is the classification of only particular species of animal as food, and the acceptance of practices toward those animals that would be rejected as unacceptable cruelty if applied to other species. This classification is culturally relative, so that, for example, dogs are eaten by some people in Korea but may be pets in the West, while cows are eaten in the West but protected in much of India.

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