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Category Archive: Ethics of food

Apr 20 2011

Eating more humanely

In response to my earlier post on the hostile response that vegetarians and vegans experience, commenter Mary Jo said she became a vegetarian but later returned to eating meat but with a renewed sensibility, saying “I still feel really sorry for the animals I eat. I eat meat that is certified to be humanely raised …

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Feb 04 2011

The hostile response that vegetarians and vegans experience

I recently had lunch with a group of people including one young woman who was a vegan. She said that she often received negative, even hostile, receptions from people she worked with or others in social settings when they found out she was a vegan, even though she was not a proselytizer about it and …

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Aug 13 2008

The ethics of food-10: Minimizing suffering

(For other posts in this series, see here.) The theory of evolution says that we are all connected in the tree of life. So humans are not only related to apes and other animals, we are also related to plants and even to the ‘lowly’ fungi. But no one is arguing that therefore we should …

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Aug 12 2008

The ethics of food-9: Does a good life compensate for an early death?

(For other posts in this series, see here.) In trying to arrive at some ethical consensus on how humans should treat nonhuman animals, I think we might all agree on a minimal condition: that once born, every animal deserves to have a good life while they are living. So that means that the inhumane treatment …

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Aug 11 2008

The ethics of food-8: Interests of species versus interests of individuals

(For other posts in this series, see here.) I wrote before that the theory of evolution, by giving all animals equal standing in the evolutionary tree of life, provides a strong argument against the exploitation of one sentient species by another. There seems to be no defensible criteria by which we can prefer the interests …

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Aug 07 2008

The ethics of food-7: Increasing the rights of animals

(For other posts in this series, see here.) In addition to the morality of treating all animals humanely, the arguments of the animal rights philosophers and activists that animals should have more legal rights are slowly gaining ground. It is clear that over time, humans are slowly expanding our circle of consideration to be more …

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Aug 06 2008

The ethics of food-6: Against speciesism

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Peter Singer opens his 1975 book Animal Liberation with this statement: This book, Animal Liberation, is about the tyranny of human over nonhuman animals. This tyranny has caused and today is still causing an amount of pain and suffering that can only be compared with that which …

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Aug 01 2008

The ethics of food-5: Pain and suffering

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Philosopher and advocate of animal rights Peter Singer is sometimes accused of going out of his way to make deliberately outrageous statements. From what I have read of him, this charge seems unjust. He strikes me as a very thoughtful philosopher who is not being merely a …

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Jul 31 2008

The ethics of food-4: Are humans privileged in some way?

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Our current attitudes towards nonhuman animals seem to be based on two assumptions. The first is that all humans are believed to be equal in some sense and one person has no right to exploit another. The second is that nonhuman animals are somehow inferior to humans …

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Jul 30 2008

The ethics of food-3: Evolutionary implications

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The theory of evolution has, of course, implications for the question of whether we should eat meat. One popular view of evolution lends support to the perceived superiority of humans over other species. This view sees evolution as a ladder-like hierarchy, rising ever upwards to higher and …

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