Do Vegans and Vegetarians Have More Empathy?

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Do Vegans and Vegetarians Have More Empathy?

 

  • By: Katie Medlock
  • March 22, 2016

Scientific research suggests the answer is ‘yes’.

When compared to omnivores, or those who eat both plant and animal products, functional MRI brain scans reveal a more powerful empathic response to both human and animal suffering in the minds of vegetarians and vegans. But, these findings may only be telling us part of the story.

The recent research using fMRI technology did, in fact, show that certain areas of the brain associated with empathy light up more in identified vegetarians and vegans and that the response to images of animal suffering is especially strong. What it does not reveal, however, is where this empathy comes from and if vegetarians and vegans are born with more of it, compared to their omnivorous counterparts.

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When considering this chicken-or-the-egg (er, apple-or-the-seed?) scenario, we must remember that most vegans begin as omnivores. While there are some families who raise their children with vegan ethics, many of us came around to the philosophy years into adolescence or adulthood. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author and animal rights advocate, calls the phenomenon “waking up” after a period of being asleep.

She and others would argue that important components of our compassion are lying dormant as we grow up in a world which hides away the suffering of animals and tells us it’s normal to eat them. These parts of ourselves are revitalized when we are able and ready to “wake up” from what is, quite literally, being fed to us.

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The mechanism of ignoring empathy-provoking experiences is a protective one. On a small scale, how many times have you purposefully scrolled past an article about some horrendous happening in the world? Our minds can only handle so much at a time. Our empathy has its limits largely because there is so much out there asking for a piece of it. When we are presented with information that requires us to tap into our empathy—and to even consider changing a part of our daily lives—we either rise to the occasion and process it or retreat from the uneasiness of cognitive dissonance, back into our comfort zones.

love veggie

More research into empathic responses could be helpful in further understanding the mechanics of empathy, not just who appears to have more of it.

So, do vegetarians and vegans actually have more empathy? Perhaps they are more plugged into the empathy reserve we all have inside of us. As John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, told Men’s Journal about his decision to follow a vegan philosophy after being presented with the horrors of the animal agriculture industry, “Remember The Matrix? Take the blue pill or the red pill? I didn’t want to go back to sleep.”

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Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/do-vegans-and-vegetarians-have-more-empathy.html#ixzz43kPuIPXA

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One Response

  1. Every time that Easter comes, I think of its victims.
    About the beings which have been slaughtered and massacred in the name of love!
    If every slaughterhouse, every supermarket, every restaurant and not least our plates at the festive table is full of body parts and blood, we mean, we celebrate Easter traditionally.
    And we are happy and convinced that we have understood religion and tradition.

    “Take and eat; this is my body. ”
    “Drink ye all of it: This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
    (Matthew 26.26 to 28)

    With the body and blood of Christ, we have made it 2016 years ago, with billions animal body and their blood we do it still today.

    We crucify animals every day for fun.
    “Our daily meat Give us today”, we start our day, we the religious fanatics, we creditor, we the ones without empathy.

    Do we know that the 500,000 tons of grain that are produced in the year are used as feed for the livestock of the rich countries?
    And that at the same moment, in 122 countries of the Third World
    43,000 children die of hunger every day?
    Just because we want to have our steak?

    Yes! we know this!
    But in contrast to other religions, the universal religion of Karnismus is much more flexible with sinners and exploiters because poor countries and poor animals bring her much money.

    Today and here that I write this line, I think that after four million years of evolution, it is a bankrupt for the human race, from the body and blood of other sentient beings to live, and, moreover, it to manifest as a normal development of our live.
    Venus

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