STUDY: Depicting animals as friends makes people feel guilty about eating pork but not beef
The difference may be because Pigs have long been anthropomorphised and depicted as being highly social in films, books and cartoons such as Babe and George Orwell's Animal Farm, in a way that Cows have not.
PHYS.ORG: ‘People find the idea of eating pork less appealing after being exposed to the idea that pigs have some human-like characteristics, but are not put off of eating beef when cows are depicted in similar ways, according to new research by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The paper, published in the journal Appetite, reveals that when pigs are shown as having the ability to make friends with humans or one another, people feel guilty about eating pork and say that they would be less likely to go to a restaurant that offers pork dishes or buy a pork product. However, people’s attitudes about eating beef are not significantly affected when they are given similar information that cows can make friends.
Feiyang Wang, a researcher at LSE and the paper’s lead author, said: “Pigs have long been anthropomorphised and depicted as being highly social in films, books and cartoons such as Babe and George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in a way that cows have not. This may be why we see such a difference in the way people respond to the idea of eating these two kinds of animals even when they are portrayed in similarly human-like terms”… Dr. Frédéric Basso, Assistant Professor in LSE’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science and co-author of the paper, said: “We were primarily interested in how anthropomorphism influences the way people think on an unconscious level”.
“Previous research has shown that exposure to scientific knowledge about pigs’ intelligence doesn’t discourage meat eaters from eating pork. Therefore, inspired by the metaphor ‘animals are friends’, we decided to anthropomorphise pigs to see whether, by doing so, we could affect people’s feelings in a way that would change their everyday attitudes where rational thinking doesn’t.”… Dr. Frédéric Basso said: “We might find in the future that other metaphors are more successful in anthropomorphising cows, such as one that revolves around the idea that animals have kin relationships — that they are part of families”.’ SOURCE…