“But I Don’t Eat that Much Meat”

Situational Underreporting of Meat Consumption by Women

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

As arguments become more pronounced that meat consumption harms the environment, public health, and nonhuman animals, meat-eaters should experience increased pressure to justify their behavior. The present research further tested the notion that women employ indirect meat-eating justification strategies relative to men, specifically the claim that as a form of self-justification, women would underreport meat consumption when the context called in to question their dietary behavior. Men and women were randomly assigned to a treatment condition in which they were informed that they would watch a PETA documentary about meat production or to a control condition, and then they completed a questionnaire assessing the amount of various meats they consumed. Women reported eating less meat when threatened by watching the documentary, while male estimates were unchanged across conditions. Furthermore, this effect was sensitive to how much participants believed nonhuman animals shared similar emotions to humans.

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