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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy – Article on Moral Vegetarianism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work.”

Moral Vegetarianism. First published Fri Sep 14, 2018 – “Billions of humans eat meat. To provide it, we raise animals. We control, hurt, and kill hundreds of millions of geese, nearly a billion cattle, billions of pigs and ducks, and tens of billions of chickens each year. To feed these animals, we raise crops. To raise crops, we deforest and use huge quantities of water. To quench these animals, we use still more water. In turn, these animals produce staggering amounts of waste, waste that poisons water sources and soil. They produce staggering amounts of greenhouse gasses. To raise these animals and produce this meat, farmers and slaughterhouse workers labor in conditions from onerous to brutal. If controlling, hurting, or killing animals is wrong or if the production of these environmental effects or effects on people is wrong or if consuming the meat produced is wrong, then a breathtaking level of wrong-doing goes on daily. Many fewer than a billion humans are vegetarian, have diets excluding meat. They are vegetarian for various reasons: because it’s healthy, because their parents make them be vegetarian, because they don’t like meat. Some are vegetarian on moral grounds. Moral vegetarianism is the view that it is morally wrong—henceforth, “wrong”—to eat meat. The topic of this entry is moral vegetarianism and the arguments for it. Strikingly, most contemporary arguments for moral vegetarianism start with premises about the wrongness of producing meat and move to conclusions about the wrongness of consuming it. They do not fasten on some intrinsic feature of meat and insist that consuming things with such a feature is wrong. They do not fasten on some effect of meat-eating on the eater and insist that producing such an effect is wrong. Rather, they assert that the production of meat is wrong and that consumption bears a certain relation to production and that bearing such a relation to wrongdoing is wrong. So this entry gives significant space to food production as well as the tricky business of connecting production to consumption…”

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