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The role of meat appetite in willfully disregarding factory farming as a pandemic catalyst risk

Dhont, Kristof, Piazza, Jared, Hodson, Gordon (2021) The role of meat appetite in willfully disregarding factory farming as a pandemic catalyst risk. Appetite, 164 . Article Number 105279. ISSN 0195-6663. (doi:10.1016/j.appet.2021.105279) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:87868)

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Most infectious diseases are zoonotic, “jumping” from animals to humans, with COVID-19 no exception. Although many zoonotic transmissions occur on industrial-scale factory farms, public discussions mainly blame wild animal (“wet”) markets or focus on reactionary solutions, posing a psychological obstacle to preventing future pandemics. In two pre-registered studies early in the 2020 pandemic, we examined whether British adults fail to recognize factory farming in causing epidemics, and whether such dismissal represents motivated cognition. Cross-sectional data (Study 1, N = 302) confirmed that people blame factory farms and global meat consumption less than wild animal trade and consumption or lack of government preparedness, especially among meat-committed persons. Experimental exposure (Study 2, N = 194) to information blaming factory farms (vs. wild animal markets) produced lower endorsement of preventive solutions than of reactionary solutions, which was exacerbated among meat-committed persons. These findings suggest that people, especially those highly committed to eating meat, willfully disregard solutions targeting animal agriculture and global meat consumption to prevent future pandemics precisely because such solutions implicate their dietary habits. Better understanding motivated beliefs about the causes of and solutions to pandemics is critical for developing interventions

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105279
Uncontrolled keywords: COVID-19; Meat consumption; Motivated cognition; Pandemic; Factory farming; Policy making
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Signature Themes: Food Systems, Natural Resources and Environment
Depositing User: Kristof Dhont
Date Deposited: 01 May 2021 12:23 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 11:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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