Meat-eaters’ porky pies

A string of recent studies have revealed the four common rationalisations people use to defend their choice of eating meat. Scientists call them the 4Ns and they cover 90 per cent of the reasons people offer for their meat eating – that it is natural, normal, necessary and nice.

What this means is that they think meat is necessary for their health; normal doesn’t require justification; natural in terms of our evolution; and nice is purely a pleasure-based factor, meaning they enjoy eating it and ‘can’t imagine a meal without meat’.

These studies also discovered that people who eat meat tend to objectify animals and deny the complexity of their needs, are less concerned with animal suffering and are more likely endorse exploitative, domineering ideologies. Men were also more likely to use the 4Ns to justify their meat-eating than women and were less likely to give up meat than women.

Viva!’s Juliet Gellatley’s talk on what is a ‘natural’ diet can be seen here.

Piazza J et al., 2015. Rationalizing meat consumption. The 4Ns. Appetite. 91: 114-128