Carnism Debunked

Humanely slaughtering the arguments for animal exploitation.

Animal intelligence

A common trait of Carnism—the belief system that indoctrinates us into treating some animals as food, clothing, entertainment, etc. while others as individuals—is for people to ascribe 'food' animals as having a lower level of intelligence than the animals we don't eat (so, for example, dogs are seen as more intelligent than farm animals such as cows).

While it doesn't matter how intelligent someone is, but rather what their capacity to suffer is, the inconvenient reality for those people who do ascribe lower cognitive abilities to 'food' animals in order to comfort them in their decision to eat them, is that they are wrong, and these animals are intelligent beings with intricate thought processes, just like us, and indeed the animals we don't eat.

Below I have compiled a list of footage of our most commonly eaten or exploited 'food' animals to dispel the myths surrounding their intelligence. These videos show animals undertaking complex thought processes and performing tasks that require intelligence or sentience. I was quite saddened when compiling this list, as it caused me to reflect on what rational thought processes these animals have and how much they must suffer as a result of being farmed or caught for our food. My wish is that the average person watching these videos does the same, and reads behind the neatly packaged product on the shelf to see the sentient, intelligent being who suffered to make it.

It is an uncomfortable truth for those who eat and exploit them that these animals are intelligent and self aware, just like us.


Pulling strings in order to obtain food:


Identifying images:
Locating hidden/switched objects:
Recognising differences in objects of the same shape/size:
Recognising playing card faces:


Enjoying music:
Greeting other species of animal:
Operating machinery, opening gates, playing with a ball:
Remembering traumatic farm experience and hiding calf from humans at sanctuary:


Forming friendship with human child:
Playing dead:


Outsmarting dogs:
Playing video games (outsmarting dogs again!):
Understanding human language:
Understanding and performing commands:
Understanding reflections:
Understanding games involving shapes:

Puffer fish

Creating beautiful art:


Opening a gate lock from the opposite side:
Turning a tap to drink water:


Using the slipstream of a boat to conserve energy when swimming in that same direction:


Enjoying human company: