9 In 10 Brits Acknowledge Farmed Animals Feel Emotions Like Cats And Dogs
A pig and a dog nuzzling each other The Vegan Society is urging people to act on their beliefs - Media Credit: Mark Saunders / Alamy Stock Photo

9 In 10 Brits Acknowledge Farmed Animals Feel Emotions Like Cats And Dogs

Researchers have highlighted the apparent “cognitive dissonance” among the general public

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2 Minutes Read

New research has found that 90 percent of Brits acknowledge that farmed animals like pigs, cows, and chickens experience similar emotions to cats and dogs. 

The study, which was conducted by The Vegan Society, found that 48 percent of non-vegans “agree,” while 42 percent “agree somewhat,” that farmed animals can experience emotions in the same way our animal companions do.

Cognitive dissonance

According to the researchers, the findings indicate that the nation, in general, is experiencing a form of cognitive dissonance. This occurs when a person’s actions don’t align with their values. 

A 2016 study published in Personality and Psychology Review suggested that eating meat can conflict with “deeply held moral principles.” The authors added that people will often seek to justify their behavior by labeling farmed animals as emotionally inferior. 

This new survey appears to show, however, that most people do accept that farmed animals experience emotions. The Vegan Society is urging people to act on their beliefs. 

aerial view of turkeys on a uk factory farm
Adobe Stock A growing number of animals are being factory farmed in the UK

Elena Orde, Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer at The Vegan Society, said that the charity is asking people to “extend the love and respect they have for their cats, dogs and other companion animals, to all other non-human animals.” 

She added: “The results of this survey highlight what we already know – that many struggle with that pull between their natural response to animal cruelty and suffering, and the food on their plate.”

The treatment of farmed animals in the UK

While the UK often claims to have “world-leading” animal welfare standards, animals used for food are mostly subjected to torturous conditions. 

Around 85 percent of land animals are factory farmed. Here, they are typically kept in cramped, unhygienic conditions, and are offered very little chance to exhibit natural behaviors. 

And the problem seems to be getting worse. This summer, it was reported that there has been an influx of so-called “mega farms” in the UK. It is thought that there are more than 1,099 of these around the country. Some of these intensive farms house over a million animals at a time. 

Visit www.BeAnimalKind.com to find out more about The Vegan Society’s campaign.

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The Author

Polly Foreman

Polly is the Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. She has been vegan since 2014, and has written extensively on veganism, animal rights, and the environment.

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