Food & Culture In Argentina: Veganism, Advocacy, And More
To reduce meat consumption by changing how people think about animals, an understanding of how people currently think about animals is necessary. This paper,reviews how people in Argentina think about animals through a broad literature review looking at studies that examine Argentinians’ attitudes and practices around meat consumption and vegetarianism / veganism.
The author asserts that meat eating as a cultural practice is influenced primarily by four factors:
- A belief system that supports meat consumption
- Stigmatization of veganism
- Societal narratives about meat and dairy products
- The vegan community
1. The belief system that supports meat consumption (“carnism”) or animal product use is a national tradition in Argentina. Consumption of meat is associated with positive attributes like wealth, abundance, and health, and non-consumption of meat is associated with negative attributes like poverty, malnutrition, weakness, disease, and impotence. These narratives are reinforced through the country’s socioeconomic stratification, wherein the impoverished cannot afford meat, and news media.
2. The stigmatization of veganism focused more on the ethical system of veganism than the vegan diet. Some factors that prevent individuals from adopting veganism include the belief that individual efforts make no real impact on animals, the belief that animal rights are unimportant, a failure to understand the connection between meat consumption and other social ills involving health or the environment, a perception of veganism as frivolous or a diet of the privileged, and the association of veganism with asceticism.
3. The societal narratives about meat and dairy products are common-sense societal narratives that guide people’s attitudes and decisions. These narratives are sustained through avoidance of the unpleasant truths about meat consumption; justification of meat consumption as normal, natural, and necessary; belief in falsehoods, including the belief that Argentina’s economy is sustained by meat consumption; and the support of institutions, such as the legal system, media, health system, education system, and religion, which reinforce meat consumption.
4. The vegan community can unintentionally reinforce societal narratives about veganism. The author proposes various strategies for the vegan community to better achieve their goals. Activists should facilitate learning through community workshops and disseminate information through official media channels. To make the transition to veganism easier and safer, activists should readily offer information about nutritionists, foster honest and scientifically-literate discussions, and provide personal support for social ostracization that may result from adopting veganism. Activists should accept and welcome the fact that there are many reasons to be vegan. Activists should behave professionally and be associated with well-respected professionals in the relevant fields. Activists should find a way to integrate animal welfare into formal education systems.
For animal advocates, especially those working in Argentina, the full review offers a variety of useful insights to help fine-tune advocacy approaches and make a greater impact in the region. The author goes into detail regarding these approaches, a survey of which is presented in the summary of factor 4.