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

Dhont, Kristof and Piazza, Jared and Hodson, Gordon (2021) The role of meat appetite in willfully disregarding factory farming as a pandemic catalyst risk. Appetite, 164: 105279. ISSN 0195-6663

[thumbnail of Zoonotic_paper_Appetite_Subm_Revision_FINAL]
Text (Zoonotic_paper_Appetite_Subm_Revision_FINAL)
Zoonotic_paper_Appetite_Subm_Revision_FINAL.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (516kB)


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:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Appetite. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Appetite, 164, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105279
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? covid-19meat consumptionmotivated cognitionpandemicfactory farmingpolicy makingpsychology(all)nutrition and dietetics ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 May 2021 10:50
Last Modified:
13 Jun 2024 01:50