A Moral Argument for Veganism

In Andrew Chignell, Matthew Halteman & Terence Cuneo (eds.), Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments on the Ethics of Eating (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

We offer a relatively simple and straightforward argument that each of us ought to be vegan. We don’t defend this position by appealing to ‘animal rights’ or the view that animals and humans are ‘moral equals’. Rather, we argue that animal agriculture causes serious harms to other animals (such as pain, suffering and death) and these harms are morally unjustified or caused for no good reason. This is true for both ‘factory farming’ and smaller, so-called ‘humane’ farms. We argue that attempts to justify these harms don’t succeed, and conclude that raising and killing animals for food is wrong. In the second part of our essay we explain how this argument relates to the choices of individuals to buy and consume animal products. Since most people don’t raise and kill animals themselves, the argument above doesn’t directly address individuals’ daily choices. To address this concern, we offer a plausible, general moral principle that describes when consumers should not purchase or consume a product: most simply, we should not support those who act wrongly by seriously harming others, provided we can safely and easily do so. Since, for most people, it is safe and relatively easy to not support those who do wrong by raising and killing animals so they can be eaten, we should not buy or consume animal food products. After making our case that we ought to be vegan, we respond to some of the more challenging objections to our argument. We argue that these objections don’t succeed and so, given our previous argument, nearly everyone is morally obligated to eat a vegan diet.

Links

PhilArchive

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

The Inconsistent Vegetarian.Merle E. van der Kooi - 2010 - Society and Animals 18 (3):291-305.
Discrimination and bias in the vegan ideal.Kathryn Paxton George - 1994 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):19-28.
The use and abuse of scientific studies.Kathryn Paxton George - 1992 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):217-233.
Vegetarianism, sentimental or ethical?Jan Deckers - 2009 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (6):573-597.
In Defence of the Vegan Project.Jan Deckers - 2013 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (2):187-195.
Food fight! Davis versus Regan on the ethics of eating beef.Andy Lamey - 2007 - Journal of Social Philosophy 38 (2):331–348.
Meat and Morality: Alternatives to Factory Farming. [REVIEW]Evelyn B. Pluhar - 2010 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (5):455-468.
Vegetarian meat: Could technology save animals and satisfy meat eaters?Patrick D. Hopkins & Austin Dacey - 2008 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21 (6):579-596.
In defense of the vegan ideal: Rhetoric and bias in the nutrition literature. [REVIEW]Gary Varner - 1994 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):29-40.
Vegetarianism, morality, and science revisited.Evelyn Pluhar - 1994 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):77-82.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-02-10

Downloads
2,172 (#3,424)

6 months
68 (#57,421)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Nathan Nobis
Morehouse College
Daniel Hooley
Capilano University

Citations of this work

Industrial Farming is Not Cruel to Animals.Timothy Hsiao - 2017 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (1):37-54.
Veganism, Animal Welfare, and Causal Impotence.Samuel Kahn - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):161-176.
Discrimination Against Vegans.Oscar Horta - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (3):359-373.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Puppies, pigs, and people: Eating meat and marginal cases.Alastair Norcross - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):229–245.
Consumers, Boycotts, and Non-Human Animals.Gary Chartier - 2005 - Buffalo Environmental Law Journal 12:123-94.

Add more references