Not new research, the study of cognitive dissonance dates from the mid-50's, but it's still useful to explain the wrongheaded inability to hold more than one reality in place at the same time. (Pardon the gross oversimplification!) So, let's think logically....how novel! Imagine you are an employee of a municipal pound paid to kill animals for a variety of reasons, including convenience---regulations allow it, there is a three-day holiday coming up, we are working on the floors this week, or we might just need the space! You find out at some point in your tenure that killing is not necessary, in all but a few intractable cases of illness, injury or extreme aggression. Yet you have been killing animals every week....for years. In your brain 'IT' hits the fan. The gray and white matter begin to argue amongst themselves:
Gray: "I am an evil wicked person who killed thousands of animals for no good reason! I am certainly NOT going to go to the Rainbow Bridge!"
White: "Don't believe it for a minute....those No Kill nuts are trying to brainwash you. Hold on to yourself! Gray: "I was only doing what I was told...."
White: "Get a grip....you were saving those animals from a fate worse than death....it would be just plain wrong if the dogs had to double up in the runs!
Here is more on Cognitive Dissonance:
In another segment of my work life I am an early childhood educator. One of my heroes, Magda Gerber (an infant-toddler specialist from the west coast) used to bemoan the way people would discard her views because of similar mental processes. Students and parents would think this way---"If I believe what you are saying, that there is a better way to take care of infants, then in the past I was disrespectful to babies I cared for!" She regularly told people, "Don't feel guilty for what you USED to do....be GLAD for what you know NOW! That may be a good message for people encountering the No Kill movement, when they experience Cognitive Dissonance!