Three studies investigated whether thoughts and feelings generated by baby animals might oppose appetite for meat. A prestudy established babyness as an important factor predicting moral concern for farmed animals. Study 1 showed that presenting images of baby animals, versus adult animals, as the source of meat reduced appetite for meat, but this effect was weak and found exclusively among women. Study 2 replicated and extended study 1 using a larger sample and two new animal sources. Study 3 included a no animal comparison condition, and found greatest levels of reduced appetite for meat when the meat source was presented as a baby animal, as opposed to an adult animal or with no visual indication of the animal source. A meta-analysis of the results using Bayes factors revealed considerable cumulative evidence in favor of the hypothesis that images of baby animals temporarily reduce women’s appetite for meat. In contrast, the evidence for men was less strong. Our results highlight a tension within some omnivores between caring for baby animals and appetite for meat.
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