This Week’s Guest:
Imagine you’re at a dinner party, and your host serves the best beef stew you’ve ever had. When you ask for the recipe, she confides in you by sharing the secret ingredient: instead of beef, she uses well-seasoned golden retriever meat. If that image shocks you enough to make you hesitate to make a batch of that stew yourself, you may be ready to see behind the myth that eating animals is normal, natural, and necessary.
Here to help pull aside that veil is Melanie Joy, the author of the influential book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. She’s also a Harvard-educated psychologist who has spoken on six continents and is a recipient of the Institute of Jainology’s Ahimsa Award. In our conversation today, she digs into why veganism is vital, and explores some ways to be a vegan ally even if you aren’t ready to give up all animal products yet (or ever).
Find Out More About Melanie Here:
In This Episode:
- [02:52] – Melanie talks about why she wrote her new book, especially given the fact that she already has a book about carnism. Stephan then explains how his and his wife’s differing dietary choices have created tension in the past.
- [04:40] – What are Melanie’s top tips for someone in a situation where your partner has made different choices about their diet, specifically if one person is a vegetarian and the other isn’t? As she answers, Melanie also explains what carnism is.
- [06:39] – Melanie coined the term “carnism” herself, she explains. She also explores her background in studying the topics surrounding the choice to eat meat.
- [10:11] – How can you get through someone’s defense mechanisms regarding food, and effect change in their diets, without making them feel attacked, ashamed, or helpless?
- [13:46] – Melanie shares some examples of carnistic defense mechanisms and cognitive biases from carnism that have infiltrated society. Stephan then reveals that ag-gag laws make it illegal to document what’s going on in factory farms, and Melanie points out that even photographing the outside of a factory farm from a distance can be enough to send you to prison.
- [17:32] – Is it realistically possible to be outside the entire system of exploiting animal lives for our benefit? For example, even if we’re vegetarian, we may still wear leather belts or shoes. As she answers, Melanie brings up the idea of vegan allies, illustrating that even people who aren’t fully vegan can support vegan values and practices.
- [22:28] – Melanie explains how Stephan, a pescaterian, is being a vegan ally simply by having her on this podcast.
- [23:16] – Stephan explains that he was the last holdout in his family to become vegetarian.
- [24:42] – Melanie recommends two of her videos for listeners interested in learning more about standard industry practices for various animal products: Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices (her TEDx talk) and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (her short video). She then discusses some of these practices and explains that egg and dairy production tend to be just as brutal as meat production.
- [29:25] – Stephan returns to a point Melanie has just mentioned: the health benefits of veganism. Melanie then recommends some resources: NutritionFacts.org, Dr. Michael Greger’s website and his book How Not to Die. She also offers suggestions on some ways to reduce your meat intake.
- [33:56] – Stephan describes one of the prime examples in his life of seeing the general indoctrination into carnism.
- [35:18] – Does Melanie have any examples of her own that she wants to share?
- [37:11] – Melanie responds to Stephan’s description of what goes on in slaughterhouses by talking about how brutal the system is for the humans involved as well.
- [40:33] – Melanie explains that everywhere she goes, veganism is mushrooming. She believes that the world is shifting in such a way that veganism will become the dominant dietary choice in the future.
- [41:58] – What are some ways in which we can be part of the solution?
- [43:18] – Melanie suggests some documentaries and movies for people who are interested in learning more.
- [44:12] – Stephan shares a story to help listeners understand more about how to make a difference, especially if you have kids.
- [47:41] – Melanie shares her perspective on whether animals have consciousness.
- [48:33] – We return briefly to Melanie’s story of having a bad experience with contaminated meat.
Links and Resources:
Melanie Joy on Facebook
@DrMelanieJoy on Twitter
Melanie Joy on LinkedIn
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows
Institute of Jainology
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Forks Over Knives
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
What the Health
Michael Greger M.D.
How Not to Die
Friend or Food? The Ideology of How We Decide
Sugar Molecule Links Red Meat Consumption and Elevated Cancer Risk in Mice
Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices (Melanie’s TEDx talk)
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (short video by Melanie)