The vagaries of vegetarianism

Ratio 21 (3):286-299 (2008)
The following was meant to be a 'fun paper', which the author's honesty and natural seriousness of mind prevented from coming off well. Its main theme is that it is not wrong to eat meat provided the animals eaten are painlessly killed or – usually in the case of human animals – already dead. In the course of his remarks the author touches on: the bearing of affluence on vegetarianism; animal rights; child eating; treating animals as ends and with due Kantian respect; the inadequacy of the word 'duty'; aesthetics and morals; the distinction between private behaviour – say driving on the left hand side of the road – and public duty – say advocating or legislating for driving on the right hand side of the road; our duties to vegetables, snakes, flying ants and Martians; and the desirability of irrationality in matters of duty; stealing and eating as much meat as possible as a way of bringing the meat industry to its knees; the contribution that animals should make to animal welfare, viz. allowing themselves to be eaten. He ends by emphasising the likeness of non-human animals to human animals.1.
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