Gemälde: Wiese von Hartmuth Kiewert – Tiere im Wald zwischen Ruinen

8. Österreichischer Tierrechtskongress

Ideological Resistance to Calls Against Animal-Based Diets (englisch) Samstag 22. Oktober, 16:45 Uhr: Vortrag im Raum Augarten

Although diets that are centered around animal products (i.e., animal-based diets) are conventional in western countries, they also contradict an ethic centered around the well-being of sentient beings: Animal-based diets pose considerable harms to farmed animals, the environment and human health. Promoting shifts toward increasingly plant-based and vegan diets seems an effective strategy to avoid these harms.

Nevertheless, calls against animal-based diets contradict the majority ideology (known as carnism), which legitimizes animal-product consumption as a cherished social habit and opposes plant-based and vegan minorities’ calls for change. In this talk, I outline socio-psychological underpinnings of ideological resistance to calls against animal-based diets. Based on existing theory and evidence, I argue that moral calls against animal-based diets are likely to simultaneously threaten non-vegans’ moral identity and self/group interests attached to their identity as consumer of animal products. Non-vegans may alleviate such identity threats by obscuring harm or rationalizing animal-based diets as quasi unavoidable, which in turn may inform stigmatization and negative stereotyping of vegan and plant-based advocates. Challenging these psychological defenses seems important for advocates to exert influence. An initial resistance to advocates’ calls for change may be masked by private acceptance and delayed commitment to more plant-based and vegan diets.