University of Twente Student Theses


Meat the paradox : An inquiry of how to deal with the meat paradox after closing the experiential gap

Hoftijzer, M.A. (2017) Meat the paradox : An inquiry of how to deal with the meat paradox after closing the experiential gap.

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Abstract:Upscaling the meat industry in the Netherlands since the 1950s caused some side effects, such as environmental problems, animal welfare issues and public health hazards. These problems could be solved by lowering both meat production and consumption. Due to the meat industry working in the background, most consumers are not aware of what happens in the meat industry, nor do they realise the consequences of the meat industry on their living environment. One way to deal with this is to close the experiential gap between the animal and the meat consumers buy. This can be done in two complementary ways: change of rules and regulation and education of consumers. Both ways are already happening concerning meat consumption, but change is slow. This can be explained by cultural and economic factors and with the theory of cognitive dissonance which argues that when people experience a difference in cognition and/or behaviour they perceive this as a conflict they want to solve. Solving cognitive dissonance can be done by using several cognitive dissonance reduction strategies of which only one leads to a change in behaviour. This implies that trying to change behaviour solely by educating consumers has little effect. In my thesis I want to argue that although educating is a useable tool to change behaviour it needs something extra. I believe this can be found in offering alternatives. By educating consumers in the supermarket and offering alternatives simultaneously, it is easier for consumers to solve the cognitive dissonance they experience by choosing the reduction strategy of changing behaviour. In addition, I think that adding the idea of the experiential gap as a new cognitive dissonance reduction strategy sheds an interesting light on consumer behaviour and may help to get a better insight in how people make moral choices in general.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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