The 4 N’s

I’ve just added the following to my page “Childhood Psychology”, because I feel it provides an insight into the psychological attitudes our society has towards meat-eating, and these beliefs are being blindly conditioned into our children who accept them as facts. I would love to see more discussion and questioning occurring in our society about these beliefs. Are they helpful or healthy to have? How do they affect children and their growing minds? How might they damage our social capacity for empathy, compassion and reasoning?

Using the “4 N’s” to Justify Meat Eating

According to a report published in the behaviour nutrition journal, Appetite, around 90% of meat-eaters use the “four Ns” to justify their diets:

It’s NATURAL i.e. “People have always eaten meat. Why stop now?”
It’s NECESSARY i.e. “Without meat, it’s impossible to get enough protein and other nutrients.”
It’s NORMAL i.e. “Everyone eats meat. I don’t want to be different. I want to fit in and be accepted.”
It’s NICE i.e. “It tastes good!”

‘Necessary’ and ‘Nice’ were the reasons given most often. The researchers conducted six separate studies to find out more about how meat-eaters use the 4 N’s to rationalise their diet, and how their beliefs shape their behaviours. Those who endorsed the four Ns the most strongly showed the following characteristics:

*They tended to objectify (dementalise) animals.

*They included fewer species of animals in their circle of concern or care.

*They were less likely to consider the moral implications of their food choices.

*They showed less concern for moral issues not related to diet, like social inequality.

*They experienced less guilt than people in the study who were felt ambivalent about meat-eating.

*They were less willing to contemplate cutting back on meat consumption in the future.

Vegan for the Environment

Being vegan brings me a lot of joy because it’s such a powerful way to reduce my negative impact on the environment around me. The impact of animal agriculture on the environment is staggering. Nature has always been my first love, from a young age. If I’d had ready access to information about the environmental benefits of a vegan diet, I would have made the transition long before I did. I gave up dairy in my early 20’s due to health reasons, then I gradually removed all meat except fish because the idea of animals living in captivity distressed me. It was only when I realised the impact fishing was having on the environment as a whole that I gave up eating fish.

Since becoming vegan I have learned more about the realities of farming and every day i learn something new about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. My favourite documentary is COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret which I helped crowd fund and later screened for my local community in 2014. This movie is a real eye-opener. While some of this information had started filtering past my research radar, Cowspiracy pulled it all together and filled in the gaps. I still have ‘wow’ moments when I watch it.

Here are some facts and figures gathered from the links posted below, and a pretty cool infographic:

*A vegan diet creates 7x less greenhouse emissions than a meat-eating diet.

*1 calorie of plant food requires 11x less fossils fuels to produce than 1 calorie of animal protein.

*While switching from a regular car to a hybrid would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900kg per year, going vegan reduces emissions by 1350kg per year.

*In comparison to a meat-based diet, which requires 15,000 litres of water per day, a vegan diet only requires 1000 litres of water.

*The equivalent of 7 football fields of land are cleared every minute to create more room for farmed animals.

*By stopping eating fish – be it farmed or wild-caught – we can reverse the destruction of ocean environments.

Veganism by the numbers.

Infographic by