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http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_even...08_hussar.html

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by Jill Anderson Hussar's research looked at a total of 45 children--some vegetarians from meat-eating homes, some vegetarians from vegetarian homes, and some nonvegetarians--and inquired about their decisions to eat or not to eat meat through role play. In order to gauge how these children made their decisions, Hussar set up methods of questioning that provided four different stories for the children including moral, personal, meat-eating, and social. Then, Hussar compared the responses to determine how their judgments differed. Through these interviews, she discovered that many children made the choice based on moral reasons. "Their responses were more about how animals are their friends," Hussar explains. "They could've used personal reasons like, 'I feel healthier,' or taste reasons like, 'Bad for my taste buds--it's really chewy.'"
 

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Very cool, thanks for sharing. I went veg when I was a child in short stints (I was 8-10, I didn't know much about it) because I loved animals so much. You may be interested in this, it's my favorite astrophysist talking about how close children are and learn from animals:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsjgM_GME-Y
 

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i was twelve, it was a slow process, but i saw these beautiful deer being "processed" in my backyard, and i made the connection. thanks dad
 

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I was almost 13 when I started to cut meat out of my diet, and it was because I really love animals, and I was being hypocritical.
 

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I was 11. It was mostly for the animals but there was a small part that was because of the taste, too. I've never really enjoyed meat. I think I would've gone much earlier if I had known a bit more about it - I didn't know what vegetarians ate so assumed I'd just eat boiled broccoli all the time.
 

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Quote:
This is contrary to the theories of famed psychologists Lawrence Kohlberg and Jean Piaget--both pioneers in moral development--that children aren't capable of making independent moral decisions at this age.
Oh wow, I had no idea that was ever a commonly held belief. How silly! If anything children are far more capable of making moral decisions than adults are, they haven't been brainwashed to ignore injustices yet.

One of my earliest memories is from when I was maybe 3 or 4 and playing with my cocker spaniel. I tried to ride her and she started yelping and ran into the crawl space and wouldn't come out for half an hour. I think that was when it first clicked for me that I wasn't the only creature in the universe that could feel pain, I started bawling my eyes out and it took my mom forever to comfort me (the dog was totally fine by the way, just not a fan of being ridden for some reason
)

After that I was very careful about not hurting things, and I became a vegetarian around 13 or 14 when it clicked that eating dead animals made me a hypocrite.
 

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Their responses were more about how animals are their friends

That was my reason too.
 

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I was two when I first started cutting out meat. Back then, though, the only animals I knew of that became meat were pigs, so I didn't eat anything with pig in it. I just never thought about other meats, I didn't put two and two together, and I was already shocked enough that people ate pigs, my favorite animals, that I didn't realize people ate other animals, too. This went on until I was about seven or eight, when my school told me I had to eat something with pig in it, and after that I guess I just stopped. I didn't eat pig much after that, though. I never liked bacon, though I tried it about three times, because it's kind of something that you're expected to like in society, everything's about bacon, but I've always hated it and the smell. I only ate ham for special occasions, like Thanksgiving. We don't eat ham at Christmas, we're Mexican, we make tamales and chili on Christmas Eve as our tradition instead of whatever other people eat on Christmas day for Christmas dinner.

Last Thanksgiving, though, the ham really grossed me out. I've always disliked meat because of the fleshy taste and the gross texture where the meat has fat. What grossed me out more than normal was that ham is bright cartoon-y pink. It's the exact color of a cartoon-y pig, and it couldn't look more like pig if it tried, and since then I didn't eat ham, or I'd eat a little before getting grossed out and commenting on the color. Other meats are easy to disconnect, but when I've loved pigs since I was born, and seeing the color of a pig and eating them felt so wrong. Little by little my disgust with eating pigs built up from there to being more and more disgusted with all meat since Thanksgiving, and finally I made the choice to go vegetarian. Upon doing research and seeing Meet Your Meat, I chose vegan.
 
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