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Episode 551: Why People Love and Exploit Animals ft. Kristof Dhont and Gordon Hodson

By Jasmin and Mariann — August 01, 2020

In the intro to the show, Mariann and Jasmin discuss the huge coronavirus outbreaks at slaughterhouses and talk about some Bloomberg reporting regarding how the meat industry is just not going to do anything about it. They also reflect on how they both recently watched Christopher Robin to cheer themselves up during this challenging time and to feel not quite so weird about their deep attachment to their own stuffed loved ones. In our continuing effort to support vegan businesses, Jasmin is shouting out Happy Ice LA. If you’re looking for a summer treat and you’re in Los Angeles, do yourself a flavor and grab a Happy Ice! Lastly folks, don’t forget to Register to Vote!

Kristof Dhont, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Kent and the founder and director of SHARKLab, a research group that studies human intergroup and human-animal relations. He has a particular interest in the psychological and ideological roots of speciesism, racism, and sexism. Gordon Hodson, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Brock University in St Catherines, Ontario, where he directs the Brock Lab of Intergroup Processes. His main research interest is political ideology and its relationship to prejudice, intelligence, and climate change denial. Kristof and Gordon have recently edited, and contributed to, a book entitled Why We Love and Exploit Animals: Bridging Insights from Academia and Activism.

Kristof and Gordon join the show today to delve into why they wanted to bring together perspectives from academics and animal advocates on why so many people are able to be involved in the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, and entertainment while also professing to love animals. They discuss how we can better understand our relationship with animals through well established findings in political psychology and how maintaining speciesism comes at a psychological cost to individuals who must maintain the denial necessary to continue behaviors deleterious to animals. Kristof and Gordon also share their thoughts on how animal advocates can structure their messaging to highlight the disconnect between loving animals and eating them without alienating people.

“A lot of the ways we think about and treat animals has to do with rationalizing our thoughts, justifying it and turning a blind eye to what we’re doing” – Gordon Hodson

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • How having different perspectives on the same topic broadens our understanding
  • Why studying human prejudices helps us understand our behavior toward animals
  • What the ‘Meat Paradox’ is and why it is important
  • The necessity of discussing solutions to animal cruelty along with the reasons behind it
  • Political ideologies and how they relate to animal exploitation
  • How to educate people to recognize the disconnect between loving animals and eating them
  • Links between speciesism, misogyny, and racism
  • The need to guard against indifference as well as exploitation
  • How people avoid the meat/animal link
  • How farm sanctuaries can be effective in making meat-eaters consider their choices
  • How to use social networks to sustain long term vegan change
  • The link between masculinity and meat

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Kristof and Gordon:

Connect with Our Hen House:

As always, the award-winning weekly Our Hen House podcast is hosted by Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer.


This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at

You can listen to our podcast directly on our website, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! Also, if you like what you hear, please rate it and leave us a comment on Apple Podcasts! Of course, we would be thrilled if you would also consider making a donation, or becoming a member of our flock (especially if you’re a regular listener). Any amount is hugely appreciated, and Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so it’s tax-deductible! Thank you for helping us create quality content, and for helping us bring you a new podcast episode each week!

Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by the incredible Michael Harren.

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