By Brock Bastian
Originally posted March 11, 2014
Here is an excerpt:
Of course consuming animals that are not considered food can create all kinds of squeamishness. Consider the recent horsemeat scandal. People created all kinds of reasons for their feeling of disgust at eating horsemeat, including health safety concerns, but of course horsemeat has been consumed safely for years.
I would argue that the issue was far more closely related to the fact that horses are seen as pets and not food. The idea of eating pets is indeed disgusting.
If people try to avoid the connection between meat and animals, what happens when they are forced to make this link? In other research we have shown that asking people to think about animals being killed for food leads them to attribute fewer mental qualities to that animal. Perhaps, however, this only happens for meat-eaters and not vegetarians, who on average attribute many more mental qualities to animals in the first place.