This is a repost of an article I wrote in 2015, with a short postscript added.
Jeff Kaufman talks about an ethics trade that he sometimes does with a friend.
I have a friend who is vegan for animal welfare reasons: they don’t think animals should be raised for food or otherwise suffer for our benefit. On the other hand, they used to really enjoy eating cheese and miss it a lot now that they’re vegan. So we’ve started trading: sometimes I pass up meat I otherwise would have eaten, and in exchange they can have some cheese.
This is a win-win for the vegan, since they get to have some cheese, and there is no net harm to animal welfare. It is not clear what’s in it for Jeff though, except for his idiosyncratic preference to have such trades. I am not sure this is an interesting scenario by itself, since, in general, any trade is possible with sufficiently idiosyncratic preferences.
Therefore, I propose a similar scenario, which I’ll call the vegan/omnivore dilemma.