The Complicated Reasons People Eat Meat


You know what the most common question people ask vegans is? No, it’s not “where do you get your protein?” No, it’s not “why don’t you care about the feelings of plants?” No, it’s not “If you were on a desert island and you were starving and had nothing else to eat, would you eat animals? The most common question vegans are asked is, “why are you vegan?” But a more important question that too often goes UNASKED is why do so many people eat meat, dairy, and eggs -- like thousands of pounds every year -- when doing so goes against our own values, our own ethics, our own concerns related to animals, our earth, and our health? 

I mean, most of us feel terrible knowing we’re doing something that hurts animals and ourselves, and yet we do it anyway. This is exactly what cognitive dissonance is: the turmoil we feel when we engage in behavior that conflicts with our beliefs — in this case, the belief/the awareness that animals suffer for our consumption of their flesh and fluids or the belief/the awareness that we suffer physically because of that same consumption — and the fact that we do it anyway. And so how do we reconcile this? 

How can we see ourselves as compassionate but contribute to violence against animals by bringing them into this world only to kill them? How can we care about ecosystems, wildlife, rivers, streams, and forests, and support the very thing that diminishes and threatens them? How can we say we want to be healthy, yet eat the very foods that cause disease? 

Now, some people might be tempted to say, “well, people just don’t care” or “they’re selfish” or “they’re indifferent,” and while I suppose that’s true of a few people, it’s really not enough to explain the huge gap between the self-perception we hold and the values we hold AND the destructive behaviors we participate in. Something else explains it, and I talk about it in a new article I hope you’ll read on

It’s excerpted from Chapter One of my book The Joyful Vegan -- the chapter’s called “DON’T TELL ME. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW: BLISSFUL IGNORANCE AND WILLFUL BLINDNESS. And -- I think -- it answers the important question: How is it that good, compassionate, kind, wellness-oriented folks can support industries, products, and systems that are actually antithetical to their values of goodness, compassion, kindness, and wellness. And whether you eat meat, dairy, and eggs or not, I think you’ll see yourself in the concepts detailed in the article. I think you’ll be able to relate to a lot of what’s in there. If you do (or don’t), I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

So head over to LiveKindly to read my article, and I look forward to hearing from you.

For the animals, this is CPG. Thanks for reading and watching.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau