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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

More Plants, Less Animals: Reducing Beef and Dairy Consumption as a Water Conservation Choice
by Williams, Jennifer Mae, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2017, 136; 10641069
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of water-conscious residents’ thought processes that may lead to behavioral and attitudinal changes when introduced to information that increased their awareness of the amount of water used by the beef and dairy industry in Arizona. A total liberation framework rooted in critical animal studies provided the theoretical foundation for explaining how speciesism and carnism support the power structures of the animal industrial complex and how cognitive dissonance theory may affect future efforts toward engaging more people in the resistance of this oppressive, violent, and unjust system. Research showed that over 40 percent of Arizona’s fresh water withdrawals are used to grow crops for animal consumption. This information was presented to a focus group consisting of seven participants interested in water conservation and consumed beef every week. A mixed methods approach to analyzing quantitative and qualitative data explored the complex decision-making process that influences an individual’s beliefs and behavioral choices to continue, reduce, or eliminate beef and dairy from their diet. The data resulted in the postulation that introducing water-conscious citizens to the amount of water used by the beef and dairy industry causes cognitive dissonance, encouraging them to reduce their beef and dairy consumption and consider underlying power structures that support animal agribusiness as they reconcile the dissonance between their current behavior to conserve water and their current behavior to consume beef and dairy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schipper, Janine
Commitee: Parson, Sean, Pfeffer, Mara, Stuart, Diana
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Sustainable Communities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 57/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental philosophy, Agriculture, Water Resource Management
Keywords: Animal agribusiness, Carnism, Cognitive dissonance, Drought, Total liberation, Vegan
Publication Number: 10641069
ISBN: 978-0-355-56794-6
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