Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2014 Edition
| Editors: Paul B. Thompson, David M. Kaplan


  • Martin GibertEmail author
  • Élise Desaulniers
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0929-4_83


A kind of speciesism; Ideology of meat; Melanie Joy’s view on food ethics; The opposite of veganism


Carnism refers to the ideology conditioning people to consume certain animal products. It is essentially the opposite of veganism. The term was coined by social psychologist Melanie Joy (2001). She has fully developed the concept in further papers and in her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (Joy 2010). As the title of Joy’s book suggest, people’s relation to animals depends crucially on the species to which they belong: “We love dogs and eat cows not because dogs and cows are fundamentally different – cows, like dogs, have feelings, preferences, and consciousness – but because our perception of them is different. And, consequently, our perception of their meat is different as well” (Joy 2010, p. 12).

A Descriptive Concept with a Normative Import

The primary goal of the concept of carnism is to describe a psychological fact:...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.MontrealCanada