Children in the US are often very hazy about the origins of the food they eat every day, especially meat.
Sapien Journal has discovered that children have a hard time identifying the origin of certain types of meat. Surprisingly, almost 40% of the children who were interviewed believed hot dogs came from plants. More than 46% thought french fries were an animal. Surprisingly, 41% of children were not able to identify bacon's origin from an animal.
The "meat paradox" is what may be the root of the problem. Children are conscious that producing meat products can cause animal suffering and still support the compassionate treatment of animals.
Parents may not be willing to tell their children about the origins of meat products. This is worrying because children's propensities to eat meat can have significant effects on climate change.
Researchers interviewed 176 children between four and seven years old from the US, who lived in metropolitan areas in the Southeast.
The researchers caution that the results of their study may not be applicable to other age groups, children from other cultures, or regions of the United States because of the small sample size and the specific geographical area.
However, the children the researchers spoke to struggled to identify the origins of meat and other foods.
The paper, which will be published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, states that "with respect to meats," the percentage of children who claimed that hot dogs, hamburgers and bacon were made from plants varied from 36 percent to 41%. Even chicken nuggets (a food with an animal name) were classified as a plant-based food in more than a third the children who participated in our study.
The researchers stated that children seem to reject certain animals as food sources. This is a culturally incorrect rejection.
These findings could have dire consequences for the future of the planet. The next generation's tastes and preferences will not change if they don't have enough information about where their food comes from, especially meat products which have a much larger carbon footprint than those made of plant-based foods.
Researchers say there is hope.
"Leveraging their moral authority youth climate activists are winning both media attention and the support of adults," reads the paper. It refers to Greta Thunberg (climate activist) who calls for massive climate action.
We still have the chance to have an impact.
"Although they do not yet vote or hold positions of leadership, they do possess attitudes and biases that support environmentally-responsible behaviors," the researchers conclude. "Childhood could be a unique opportunity to develop lifelong habits that reduce climate change," the researchers conclude.
READ MORE: A third of American children don't understand how meat is brought to the table [Sapien Journal]
California Factory Produces 50,000 Lbs Per Year of Lab-Grown Meat
Do you care about clean energy adoption? Learn how much money and planet you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. UnderstandSolar.com can show you how much money and planet you could save by switching over to solar power. Futurism.com might earn a small commission if you sign up via this link.