Carnism and Pinocchio – Parallels and Lessons


I recently watched Pinocchio, and couldn’t help but notice some parallels to carnism and veganism. For those who haven’t seen the film, there is a scene where Pinocchio and a group of boys are taken to ‘Pleasure Island’ by a character called The Coachman. On this island they engage in various hedonistic activities, such as smoking, gambling, drinking and vandalism.
Jiminy Cricket, who plays the role of Pinocchio’s conscience, discovers that the boys who stay there long enough transform into donkeys, and are sold into slave labor. He goes to find Pinocchio and one of the other boys called Lampwick to warn them, but they have already begun to transform into donkeys, or as The Coachman calls them: “jackasses”.


There are several key themes in the film: tell the truth, listen to your conscience, and be careful of the dangers of hedonism. All of these lessons also apply to how humans should treat animals. Carnism, which is the ideology that conditions people to eat certain animals, is based on lies, requires you to ignore your conscience, and is often justified by hedonism (“taste tho”).
Comparatively speaking, carnism is like pleasure island, and many nonvegans have begun the process of turning into jackasses (“bacon tho”). For many there is still hope, but unfortunately for others, it appears that Jiminy Cricket has left the building.
Humans aren’t meant to harm or kill animals, unless it is in self-defence or there are no alternatives. Going vegan is the equivalent to leaving pleasure island, which you do by listening to your conscience and telling the truth about how humans treat animals. Common ‘counterarguments’ to veganism (“natural”, “tradition”, “ancestors”, etc.) are really just excuses to not make the change, and carnism is like an ideological drug, which numbs people to the reality of what they have become.


It can be difficult at times to self-reflect, and it is far easier to dismiss vegans as “extreme”, “crazy”, or “militant”, but the price of neglecting your conscience is arguably considerably worse.
Rather than focussing on what we will lose as a result of going vegan (meat, cheese, etc.), instead we should focus on what we will gain (clearer conscience, less violence, better environment, being on the right side of history).
In conclusion, it is better to be an ex-slaughterhouse worker who became an animal rights activist, than an eternally braying jackass who refuses to admit they made the wrong choice.
“It’s hard to be rational in an irrational world; it’s hard to be compassionate in a caustic culture; it’s hard to be aware in a society that is asleep.” ~ Bitesize Vegan


Carnism – The Secret Reason We Eat Meat – Dr Melanie Joy

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