New Survey: Farm Animals Feel Like Cats and Dogs

On November 13, The Vegan Society revealed the result of a new survey showing 48% of non-vegans “agree” and 42% “agree somewhat” that farmed animals can experience similar emotions to animal companions.

Photo credit: Cottonbro Studio

Excerpts from the story:

“(The online survey), conducted ahead of World Kindness Day (13 November), means, in total, 9 in 10 (90%) Brits acknowledge there is very little difference between the two groups. The majority of Brits believe that cows, pigs, goats, and chickens experience similar emotions to cats, dogs, and other animal companions, despite the fact they are willing to eat or wear some, and not others.

“Dr. Maureen Tomeny is a former clinical psychologist-turned sanctuary volunteer who recognizes similar emotions in the animals in her care, to that of her former human patients. She said: ‘It’s clear to me that we underestimate how much-farmed animals are like cats and dogs—and like ourselves, too. I spent over 30 years of my professional career working as a clinical psychologist and have seen the impact of neglect, abuse, and trauma on humans. There is no doubt that animals are sentient, and can feel pain, fear, anxiety, and grief. They can also feel happy, show great affection for other animals, experience contentment, and more.’

“However, for those who consume animal products and have not had the opportunity to connect with farmed animals, the findings of the charity’s latest survey point to what psychologists call cognitive dissonance—a discord between our values and our actions.

“In their 2016 paper, published by Personality and Psychology Review, Researchers Brock Bastian and Steve Loughnan suggest meat-eating can conflict with ‘deeply-held moral principles,’ and so people seek to justify their behavior. They further explain the ways in which people do this, including considering farmed animals as emotionally inferior or by viewing their consumption of animals as a collective action influenced by society.” (

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