Our Moral Duty to Eat Meat
Zangwill (Nick)
Source: Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7(3), June 2021
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. I argue that eating meat is morally good and our duty when it is part of a practice that has benefited animals. The existence of domesticated animals depends on the practice of eating them, and the meat-eating practice benefits animals of that kind if they have good lives. The argument is not consequentialist but historical, and it does not apply to non-domesticated animals. I refine the argument and consider objections.

  1. Eating nonhuman animal meat is not merely permissible but also good. It is what we ought to do, and it is our moral duty. So I argue. I shall not distinguish the claim that eating meat is good from the claim that we ought to eat meat. The claim that it is our duty is a stronger claim. The claim that it is good and the claim that it is what we ought to do are closely related to the claim that it is our duty: if something is our duty, then it is good to do it, and we ought to do it. Furthermore, I take the goods, oughts, and duties here to be moral ones. Note also that by the word ‘animals’ in what follows, I mean nonhuman animals, and by ‘meat’ I mean nonhuman animal meat.

  1. The Benefit to Animals of Eating Meat
  2. Consciousness, Happiness, Suffering, and Death
  3. Three Comments
  4. Beneficial Historical Practices: Wild and Domesticated Animals
  5. Other Writers: Compare and Contrast
  6. Killing and Eating Enslaved Human Beings?
  7. Which Animals?
  8. Good and Good-For
  9. Who is Obligated?
  10. All Things Considered
  11. Coda


See Zangwill - Our Moral Duty to Eat Meat

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