Carnism and Relational Literacy

If we want to create a better world for everyone, we need to change the way we relate.

Michelle Alvarez hugging Jasmine, a rescued pig, at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Carnism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Many of the most pressing problems in our lives and world—such as interpersonal abuse, war, racism, climate change, and, of course, animal exploitation and carnism—stem from the same mentality. This mentality causes us to relate to others—to other people, to animals and the environment, and even to ourselves—in a way that’s dysfunctional. Because relational dysfunction is the common denominator among all forms of abuse and oppression, building relational literacy—the understanding of and ability to practice healthy ways of relating—is the common denominator in transforming all these problems.

When we build relational literacy, no matter what our specific mission is, we’re better able to work toward a shared “metamission” of creating a more relational world, and our lives and movements become significantly more resilient and impactful.

At Beyond Carnism, our mission is to expose and transform carnism and to create a more impactful vegan movement. However, because we recognize that relational dysfunction is the metaproblem that gives rise to carnism and other, intersecting problems—and that weakens the vegan movement—our metamission is to help create a more relational world.