So animal a human ..., Or the moral relevance of being an omnivore

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 3 (2):172-186 (1990)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is argued that the question of whether or not one is required to be or become a strict vegetarian depends, not upon a rule or ideal that endorses vegetarianism on moral grounds, but rather upon whether one's own physical, biological nature is adapted to maintaining health and well-being on a vegetarian diet. Even if we accept the view that animals have rights, we still have no duty to make ourselves substantially worse off for the sake of other rights-holders. Moreover, duties to others, such as fetuses and infants, may require one to consume meat or animal products. Seven classes of individuals who are not required to be or become vegetarians are identified and their examption is related to nutritional facts; these classes comprise most of the earth's population. The rule of vegetarianism defines a special or provisional duty rather than any general or universal rule, since its observance it based upon the biological capacities of individual humans whose genetic constitution and environment makes them suitably herbivorous. It is also argued that generalizing the vegetarian ideal as a social goal for all would be wrongful because it fails to consider the individual nutritional needs of humans at various stages of life, according to biological differences between the sexes, and because it would have the eugenic effect of limiting the adaptability of the human species. The appeal to the natural interests of omnivores will not justify any claim that humans may eat amounts of meat or animal products in excess of a reasonable safety margin since animals have rights-claims against us.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,654

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

On vegetarianism, morality, and science: A counter reply. [REVIEW]Evelyn B. Pluhar - 1993 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 6 (2):185-213.
Animal rights: moral theory and practice.Mark Rowlands - 2009 - New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Discrimination and bias in the vegan ideal.Kathryn Paxton George - 1994 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):19-28.
Moral Rights and Human Culture.Lisa Bortolotti - 2006 - Ethical Perspectives 13 (4):603-620.
Popular media and animals.Claire Molloy - 2011 - New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Moral rights and animals.H. J. McCloskey - 1979 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 22 (1-4):23 – 54.
Who can be morally obligated to be a vegetarian?Evelyn Pluhar - 1992 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):189-215.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
75 (#198,334)

6 months
3 (#433,312)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Veganism and Children: Physical and Social Well-Being.Marcus William Hunt - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (2):269-291.
Should vegans compromise?Josh Milburn - 2022 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (2):281-293.
Should vegans compromise?Josh Milburn - 2022 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (2):281-293.
Discrimination and bias in the vegan ideal.Kathryn Paxton George - 1994 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):19-28.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The case for animal rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.
Animal rights and human morality.Bernard E. Rollin - 1981 - Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.
Morals, reason, and animals.Steve F. Sapontzis - 1987 - Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

View all 11 references / Add more references