Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows - Summary and Key Ideas

In this engrossing book, Melanie Joy explores the invisible system or belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals and not others. It's an exploration of 'carnism', the belief system that has shaped our perception of the behavior extremely resistant to change.

This book is aimed towards readers who are interested in psychology, animal rights, environmental change, and personal diet choices. It's also for those who are trying to understand why people love some animals and eat others.

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Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

Key ideas


Advocating for recognition and reduction of emotional suffering in industrialized farm animals.


Perceptions, shaped by socially constructed schemas, regulate our empathy and food choices.

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Carnism, an unexamined ideology, enables violent animal consumption by remaining invisible.

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Industrial animal farming inflicts immense cruelty, hidden from consumers' awareness.

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Animal agriculture's hidden costs wreak havoc on human health, animal welfare, and environment.

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Authority and tradition condition us to accept animal consumption, disconnecting us from empathy.

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Carnism distorts reality, enabling animal harm and suppressing empathy through psychological schemas.

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Witnessing suffering fuels empathy, challenging oppressive systems and inspiring societal change.

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Summary & Review

Final Summary:

Melanie Joy, PhD

Dr. Melanie Joy is a Harvard-educated psychologist, celebrated speaker, and an award-winning author. She has conducted extensive research on relationships, communication, and social transformation. Founding president of the charitable organization Beyond Carnism, she has given talks and trainings in over fifty countries, having her work featured in major media outlets around the world.

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