With thanks to Stacey at Our Compass as always.
In a healthy environment, people would be thrilled to find out that we can end animal exploitation and improve our health and the environment at the same time. We would all be working together to close slaughterhouses immediately. So, why do people side with the animal abusers and gaslight anyone who doesn’t? Because eating and using animal products is a form of cultural narcissism.
We’re becoming increasingly aware of narcissism, but few of us know that it doesn’t only apply to individuals. Collective and cultural narcissism also exist. The problem is, however, that this can be hard to see when it’s part of our own culture. So, I’m going to unpack exactly how the meat industry and other animal industries engage in collective narcissism, and how society’s support for these industries is a form of cultural narcissism.
If you eat or use animal products yourself, then please read this with an open mind. My goal is not to call you a narcissist, but to arm you with information, so we can end this form of cultural narcissism together.
Two thirds of US households have at least one cat, dog, or other companion animal. We don’t expect these animals to do anything for us. They’re valued purely for their company. Often, they’re considered part of the family, and we recognize that they each have their own unique personality and love them for it.
In the animal industries, however, the exact opposite happens. One of the core traits of narcissism, treating others like objects, is expressed to the fullest extent here. The industries don’t bring animals into this world to love them, but to kill them and sell their bodies. They literally turn living beings, who are just as sentient as cats and dogs, into products. The animals’ desire to stay alive isn’t even factored into the decision, only how much they weigh when they’re killed.
Entitlement and grandiosity
Entitlement is about taking what isn’t ours. And if there’s one thing that isn’t ours, it’s someone else’s life. Taking a life is the most extreme form of entitlement. Even if it was an “us or them” situation, the idea that animals should die for us would still be entitled, but it would be understandable. However, that’s not even remotely the case. To quote the largest organization of nutrition experts in the US:
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”
So, not only are all animal products unnecessary, cutting them out of our diet can actually benefit our health. And the average person has access to a wide variety of plant-based food. We even have plant-based products that look and taste like animal products. So, the industries aren’t killing trillions of animals for us out of any kind of necessity.
The fact that, even under these circumstances, they feel entitled to kill as many animals as they want so we can eat as many animals as we want can only be described as grandiosity.
Continued on next page.