If you eat vegan, you’ve probably wondered how people can keep eating and enjoying meat when there’s so much evidence about the health risks, the environmental damage, and poor animal welfare. Recently, scientists investigated how meat-eaters engage with evidence surrounding meat to see if they willingly avoid evidence of animals’ capacity to think and feel.

Source: Earthling Ed/Youtube

A survey by the Sentience Institute found that 70 percent of Americans reported feeling uncomfortable with how animals are treated on farms. The study also found that 75 percent of Americans think that they are buying humane meat. However, this statistic is impossible because the majority of the animals raised for meat in the United States are from factory farms.

Many previous studies have found that consumers may only be engaging with information strategically to avoid behavioral implications, according to Psychology Today. Researchers found that people who want to keep eating meat are the most likely to avoid evidence of animals being sentient creatures.

The study was led by Jared Piazza, Ph.D., who is a senior lecturer in social psychology at Lancaster University, U.K. Piazza studies moral decision-making as it pertains to humans, food, and animals.

In the first experiment, Piazza and his colleagues asked about 300 meat-eaters if they engage in ‘strategic ignorance’ about animals for food by asking them statements like, “I would rather not know about food-animals’ sentience.” They asked how committed they were to eating meals that contained meat with statements such as, “I don’t want to eat meals without meat.”

They found that people who were strongly committed to eating meat were more likely to avoid evidence about sentience in animals for food. They also found however that those committed to eating meat are fully aware that they engage in strategic ignorance.

Next, they asked around 400 meat-eaters about their interest in reading scientific articles about intelligent and unintelligent pigs and dogs. They also asked them again how committed they were to eating meat in their meals. They wanted to see if the ignorance only applied to evidence that suggests that the animals people eat are intelligent.

They found people who were more committed to eating meat, were less interested in reading articles about intelligent pigs. However, they were no less interested in other articles about unintelligent pigs or dogs. The evidence suggests that the strong preference for eating meat is associated with the desire to avoid evidence that suggests the animals we eat are intelligent (which they are).

Finally, they asked around 700 meat-eaters to browse a website that was programmed with pop-ups that has evidence documenting the intelligence of different animals. Some of the animals were ones that we eat like pigs, cows, and chickens, while others were animals that we don’t typically eat like dogs, cats, and horses. Researchers wanted to see what people do in these situations, not just what they say that would do. They found that people more committed to eating meat would close the pop-ups with evidence about the intelligence of pigs, cows, and chickens much quicker than they would close the other pop-ups.

The findings from the study mean that people who are committed to eating meat in their daily lives do actively avoid the evidence that the animals they eat are sentient. Many of these people even know that they are being strategically ignorant, but continue to do so.

Ignoring the fact that animals are sentient beings allows people to remain ignorant and keep eating products from the meat and dairy industry even though they know there is evidence of how bad meat is. A 2020 study found that students who took a meat ethics course were much less likely to eat meat after.

Ignoring where your food comes from doesn’t help anything. The meat and dairy industries are incredibly cruel and these products are harmful to our bodies, and the environment, and we slaughter 72 billion animals every year.

Source: Earthling Ed/Youtube

We need to open our eyes to the facts and know where our food is coming from. With more meat alternatives coming to the market, there’s never been a better and easier time to switch to a healthy plant-based diet.

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

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