Intensive animal agriculture wrongs many, many animals. Philosophers have argued, on this basis, that most people in wealthy Western contexts are morally obligated to avoid animal products. This book explains why the author thinks that’s mistaken. He reaches this negative conclusion by contending that the major arguments for veganism fail: they don’t establish the right sort of connection between producing and eating animal-based foods. Moreover, if they didn’t have this problem, then they would have other ones: we wouldn’t be obliged to abstain from all animal products, but to eat strange things instead—e.g., roadkill, insects, and things left in dumpsters. On his view, although we have a collective obligation not to farm animals, there is no specific diet that most individuals ought to have. Nevertheless, he does think that some people are obligated to be vegans, but that’s because they’ve joined a movement, or formed a practical identity, that requires that sacrifice. This book argues that there are good reasons to make such a move, albeit not ones strong enough to show that everyone must do likewise.
Table of Contents
2. Contemporary Animal Agriculture
3. Bad Arguments for Eating Animals
4. Utilitarianism and the Causal Inefficacy Problem
5. Causal Inefficacy Aside, Utilitarianism Requires Eating Unusually
6. The Rights View and the Production/Consumption Gap
7. Eating Animals the Rights Way
8. Beyond Utilitarianism and the Rights View
9. Activist Ethics
10. Taking Stock
Bob Fischer teaches philosophy at Texas State University. He’s the author of Animal Ethics — A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge, forthcoming) and the editor of The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat (2015) and The Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics (Routledge, forthcoming).
"This is one of the most honest books I’ve ever read. Rather than grinding an axe, Fischer follows the reasons to the conclusions they support—conclusions at odds with what he had hoped to establish." – Donald Bruckner, Penn State University, New Kensington, USA