Have you ever wondered why you want to pet your cat but the idea of grilling Tibbles and eating her in a brioche bun with a few lettuce leaves and relish turns your stomach?
And why if Tibbles were a cow she’d already be dead in your fridge and destined for your dinner plate?
The answer according to Dr Melanie Joy – a professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston – is carnism.
She coined the term to describe a belief system that she believes has convinced many of us that it’s acceptable to eat some animals and gut-wrenching to eat others – even if they are the pretty similar anatomically.
Meat eaters and those who consume animal products including vegetarians use what she calls the Three Ns of Justification – normal – natural and necessary – to explain their hypocritical behaviour.