Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy, Ph.D.

Carnism, factory farms, farm animals, and vegetarianism

Dr. Melanie Joy, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, is currently on a national speaking tour based on her book. Farm Sanctuary has been pleased to collaborate with Dr. Joy in sponsoring her tour as part of our education programs. Please read below for more information about Dr. Joy’s speaking tour, the concept of “carnism,” her book, and how you can get involved. She has also published an article, Speaking Truth to Power: Understanding the Dominant Animal-Eating Narrative for Vegan Empowerment and Social Transformation.

Purchase the book: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism

What is carnism?
Carnism, as defined by Dr. Joy, is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals, much like vegetarianism and veganism are belief systems whereby people refrain from eating most or all animal products. “Carn” means “flesh,” and “ism” denotes a belief system.

Because carnism is an invisible belief system, most people view eating animals as a given rather than as a choice. When eating animals is not necessary for survival, however, as is the case in the majority of the world today, then it is a choice. People’s beliefs about “edible animals” have a dramatic effect on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward animals raised for food. In meat-eating cultures around the world, people eat only certain animals, but they don’t think about why they find the meat of some animals disgusting and the meat of other animals appetizing — or why they eat any animals at all.

The term carnism was first used by social psychologist Dr. Melanie Joy in 2001. Dr. Joy’s doctoral research on the psychology of eating meat revealed that individual attitudes and behaviors toward animals were influenced by a widespread social belief system that was invisible and unnamed. To learn more about carnism, visit

Watch Melanie online:

Melanie Joy speaks on carnism.

How you can get involved

  • Visit one of Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters located in New York and California to meet rescued pigs, sheep, cattle, and other farm animals, and see firsthand how these sensitive, social animals are similar to your own dogs and cats.
  • Virtually “meet” some of the rescued Farm Sanctuary animals at our online media center and learn what makes these animals so special.
  • Read the heartwarming stories of the animals who needed refuge from the cruelties of food animal production and currently reside at Farm Sanctuary.
  • Share Dr. Joy’s book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, with others to raise awareness.

Melanie Joy’s Resource List
Explore Melanie’s recommended list of books, cookbooks, children’s books, DVDs, and websites.