Founder: Dr Melanie Joy PhD
Books by Melanie Joy PhD:
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs And Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. Publisher: Conari Press, 2010
Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation. Publisher: Lantern Books, 2008
Beyond Carnism is a charitable organization that works to expose and transform carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.
Excerpts from http://www.carnism.org:
Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism, as “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” refers to a belief system.
Because carnism is invisible, people rarely realize that eating animals is a choice, rather than a given. In meat-eating cultures around the world, people typically don’t think about why they eat certain animals but not others, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity, which is the case for many people in the world today, then it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.
In short, carnism is a system of oppression. It is enabled by an unjust exercise of power that causes unnecessary harm to billions of individuals.
Why Eating Animals Is a Social Justice Issue
Because carnism is invisible, we assume that eating or not eating animals is simply a matter of personal ethics: “You make your choices, and I’ll make mine.” However, when we recognize carnism, we can appreciate that eating animals is in fact the result of a widespread, oppressive system. (Consider, for example, how believing that women did not deserve the right to vote had less to do with “personal choice” or “personal preference” than it did with the widespread sexism that conditioned people to believe in the inferiority of women.)
And carnism is structured like other systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism, and heterosexism. While the experience of each set of victims of oppressive systems will always be unique, the systems are similar because the mentality that enables the oppression is the same.
Ultimately, cultivating compassion and justice is not simply about changing behaviors; it is about changing consciousness so that no “others,” human or nonhuman, are victims of oppression. To bring about a more compassionate and just society, then, we must strive to include all forms of oppression in our awareness, including carnism.