Food Ethics 6 (2) (2021)

Justin Bernstein
Florida Atlantic University
This article argues that governments in countries that currently permit intensive animal agriculture - especially but not exclusively high-income countries - are, in principle, morally justified in taking steps to restrict or even eliminate intensive animal agriculture to protect public health from the risk of zoonotic pandemics. Unlike many extant arguments for restricting, curtailing, or even eliminating intensive animal agriculture which focus on environmental harms, animal welfare, or the link between animal source food consumption and noncommunicable disease, the argument in this article appeals to the value of protecting populations from future global health emergencies and their broad social, economic, and health impacts, taking the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a particularly salient example. The article begins by identifying how intensive animal agriculture contributes to the outbreak of zoonotic diseases. Next, we explore three specific policy options: 1. Incentivizing plant-based and cell-based ASF alternatives through government subsidies; 2. Disincentivizing intensive ASF production through the adoption of a “zoonotic tax”; and 3. Eliminating intensive ASF production through a total ban. We argue that all three of these measures are permissible, although we remain agnostic as to whether these measures are obligatory. We argue for this conclusion on the grounds that each measure is justified by the same sorts of considerations that justify other widely accepted public health interventions, and each is compatible with a variety of theories of justice. We then address potential objections. Finally, we discuss how our novel argument relates to extant ethical arguments in favor or curtailing ASF production and consumption.
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DOI 10.1007/s41055-021-00089-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.

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