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In this paperback edition is a foreword by activist and author John Robbins and a reader’s group study guide. This ground-breaking work, voted one of the top ten books of 2010 by VegNews Magazine, offers an absorbing look at why and how humans can so wholeheartedly devote ourselves to certain animals and then allow others to suffer needlessly, especially those slaughtered for our consumption.

Social psychologist Melanie Joy explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals. She coins the term "carnism" to describe the belief system that has conditioned us to eat certain animals and not others.

In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows Joy investigates factory farming, exposing how cruelly the animals are treated, the hazards that meatpacking workers face, and the environmental impact of raising 10 billion animals for food each year. Controversial and challenging, this book will change the way you think about food forever.

Topics: Animal Rights, Animals, Veganism, Ethics, Social Change, Activism, Informative, Heartfelt, and Essays

Published: Red Wheel Weiser on Sep 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781609255763
List price: $16.95
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The beginning of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows introduces a concept that Dr. Melanie Joy uses throughout the book. It is a thought experiment of sitting down to a meal and enjoying a nice stew with friends when you ask what kind of meat the chef used. The response is that it is golden retriever. Joy asks you how you know feel about eating the meal. Your feelings and emotions change from enjoyment to nausea. The crux of the book is built around this scenario, why does our emotions and feelings allow for us to enjoy beef, but we do not eat dog. The book is informative and persuasive. But I think that it needs to be mentioned that the book also devolves into a pro-vegan argument for the last half of the book. The first half focuses on the sociological and anthropological mores that allow for our mind to eat one type of animal but to shun another. The second half argues for the moral and physiological impetuses for shunning all types of meat. As a personal aside to this review, after I read the book I decided to experiment with vegetarianism. I did not set a time limit for my abstaining from meat, but I wanted to see if I felt better and healthier with that change. I have not eaten meat in three weeks and I am finding that it is easier than anticipated. Joy writes well and is passionate about her subject. Her doctoral thesis research went into the source material for some of this book. Personally, any book that causes me to think, to change, and to view the world in a different light is one that is successful, and this book fits that criteria.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Being a vegetarian for 20 years, I was looking forward to Melanie Joy, PhD's book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows and her concept of carnism. In the book she writes: "We don't see meat eating as we do vegetarianism-as a choice, based on a set of assumptions about animals, our world and ourselves. Rather, we see it as a given, the "natural" thing to do. We eat animals without thinking about what we are doing and why because the belief system that underlies this behavior is invisible. This invisible belief system is what I call carnism."Unfortunately, I felt that the carnism concept wasn't examined in enough depth. Granted, it is a short book, under 150 pages when you remove the resources and bibliography but much of the book is composed of descriptions of slaughterhouse practices and the suffering of animals. While I feel this is important to be aware of, it is not something that hasn't been covered by other books (Animal Liberation by Peter Singer) and movies (Food, Inc.). I liked what she had to say about how society justifies the eating of meat through myths. She calls these myths the "3 N's of Justification"; that eating meat is Normal, Natural and Necessary. She discusses how "carnists" are able to continue eating meat through the objectification and abstraction of animals, hence blocking feelings of disgust triggered by empathizing with animal suffering.Overall, I think this is a valuable book, but not one that covers any new ground.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Between the reviews here, Goodreads and the first 3 chapters of the book that I read, I decided to abandon this book. Joy's writing is rambling and repetitive. She thrives on scare tactics and doesn't provide any alternatives to the methods she denounces. This is not a well-written book, and it doesn't do anything to bolster the vegetarian movement, nor does it do anything to benefit the vegetarian reputation. For disclosure: I have been dabbling with becoming a vegetarian and I had high hopes for this book. One of the main reasons I want to give up meat is because I'm uneasy about the treatment of animals in these factories and slaughterhouses. While Joy does shed light on the horrors of the animals and how little attention is being paid to their treatment, this book didn't really provide any resources for me. It just presented a thesis that our perceptions of animals gears us to love some more than others. A valid point, but the content of the book seems lacking and fluffed. I think this would have been better as an Op-ed piece for a newspaper rather than an entire book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The beginning of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows introduces a concept that Dr. Melanie Joy uses throughout the book. It is a thought experiment of sitting down to a meal and enjoying a nice stew with friends when you ask what kind of meat the chef used. The response is that it is golden retriever. Joy asks you how you know feel about eating the meal. Your feelings and emotions change from enjoyment to nausea. The crux of the book is built around this scenario, why does our emotions and feelings allow for us to enjoy beef, but we do not eat dog. The book is informative and persuasive. But I think that it needs to be mentioned that the book also devolves into a pro-vegan argument for the last half of the book. The first half focuses on the sociological and anthropological mores that allow for our mind to eat one type of animal but to shun another. The second half argues for the moral and physiological impetuses for shunning all types of meat. As a personal aside to this review, after I read the book I decided to experiment with vegetarianism. I did not set a time limit for my abstaining from meat, but I wanted to see if I felt better and healthier with that change. I have not eaten meat in three weeks and I am finding that it is easier than anticipated. Joy writes well and is passionate about her subject. Her doctoral thesis research went into the source material for some of this book. Personally, any book that causes me to think, to change, and to view the world in a different light is one that is successful, and this book fits that criteria.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Being a vegetarian for 20 years, I was looking forward to Melanie Joy, PhD's book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows and her concept of carnism. In the book she writes: "We don't see meat eating as we do vegetarianism-as a choice, based on a set of assumptions about animals, our world and ourselves. Rather, we see it as a given, the "natural" thing to do. We eat animals without thinking about what we are doing and why because the belief system that underlies this behavior is invisible. This invisible belief system is what I call carnism."Unfortunately, I felt that the carnism concept wasn't examined in enough depth. Granted, it is a short book, under 150 pages when you remove the resources and bibliography but much of the book is composed of descriptions of slaughterhouse practices and the suffering of animals. While I feel this is important to be aware of, it is not something that hasn't been covered by other books (Animal Liberation by Peter Singer) and movies (Food, Inc.). I liked what she had to say about how society justifies the eating of meat through myths. She calls these myths the "3 N's of Justification"; that eating meat is Normal, Natural and Necessary. She discusses how "carnists" are able to continue eating meat through the objectification and abstraction of animals, hence blocking feelings of disgust triggered by empathizing with animal suffering.Overall, I think this is a valuable book, but not one that covers any new ground.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Between the reviews here, Goodreads and the first 3 chapters of the book that I read, I decided to abandon this book. Joy's writing is rambling and repetitive. She thrives on scare tactics and doesn't provide any alternatives to the methods she denounces. This is not a well-written book, and it doesn't do anything to bolster the vegetarian movement, nor does it do anything to benefit the vegetarian reputation. For disclosure: I have been dabbling with becoming a vegetarian and I had high hopes for this book. One of the main reasons I want to give up meat is because I'm uneasy about the treatment of animals in these factories and slaughterhouses. While Joy does shed light on the horrors of the animals and how little attention is being paid to their treatment, this book didn't really provide any resources for me. It just presented a thesis that our perceptions of animals gears us to love some more than others. A valid point, but the content of the book seems lacking and fluffed. I think this would have been better as an Op-ed piece for a newspaper rather than an entire book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Joy has a clear thesis: We eat certain animals and not others because we separate them in our minds, and that eating and kind of animal is no different from eating another kind, therefore eating any animal is immoral. She has the notion that eating meat, or carnism, is a myth that we are forced to accept. And how does she do this? By talking about Nazis and dog eating. She includes quite a bit about the meat industry, but rather than use this as a way to insist that our food be treated properly until it's killed (a la Temple Grandin), she says this is evidence of our evil ways. I completely agree with part of her thesis, but we diverge on others. First of all, we don't eat dogs because we are acculturated to NOT eat dogs (or horses for that matter). Many cultures do eat dogs. But what annoys me the most is the comparison between how we get meat on our tables and the Nazis. The irony of this form of Reductio ad Hitlerum is, of course, that Hitler was also a vegetarian. I strongly doubt this books will convince any meat eaters to stop eating meat. It will be an excellent book for some kinds of vegetarians to make them feel better about their decisions. But overall, it started with a weak thesis, presented weak arguments, and used lousy rhetorical tricks to try to prove a point. Vegetarianism and ethical eating are lofty goals. Ethical eating, in particular, is one to which we should all aspire. This book may present some information to convince people of this. But it could have been much better executed.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Before I start, let me declare my vegetarianism. Despite my inclination to be sympathetic toward animals, I found Joy's book to be naive in the extreme.I was expecting a book on the cultural reasons for why Americans have differing attitudes toward consuming different animals, and, while she has included some of that, there is also content I was not expecting -- perhaps it is my own fault for thinking a book with an attractively cute title and describes itself as an introduction to "the belief system that enables us to eat some animals and not others" would be a bit more about that topic.The one salient point of the book, in my opinion, is her discussion of the slaughtering process. Better oversight and more transparency is needed to ensure the safety of food that is consumed and to give food animals humane treatment at all steps of their lives.The call to activism throughout the book is rather strident and unpleasant to get through. People can decide on their own whether to get involved, and providing some contact information at the end would be appropriate, but the oppressive nature of her encouragement is uncomfortable to get through.Toward the end of the book, she encourages the reader to "view ourselves as strands in the web of life, rather than as standing at the apex of the so-called food chain." From where I sit, the food web includes animals eating other animals. Humans are omnivorous creatures, and simply because eating animals is not strictly necessary for a complete diet does not mean that people are required to, or should, suppress the urge to consume animals.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
My first impression of this book is that I need to re-think my diet. I am a carnivore, and I don't feel apologetic about this. However, descriptions of how animals are treated by the industrial food complex were stomach-turning, to say the least. In the past year I have searched for meat sources that provide more humanely raised and slaughtered products; I'm willing to pay more. However, there are limited sources for this. This book will make a reader uncomfortable and force some contemplation, which is all to the good. Other reviewers have done an excellent job reviewing the aspects of the book. I vote this as a must-read for anyone who wants to live a conscientious life.
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