Veganism, Animal Welfare, and Causal Impotence

Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):161-176 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Proponents of the utilitarian animal welfare argument (AWA) for veganism maintain that it is reasonable to expect that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal suffering. In this paper I argue otherwise. I maintain that (i) there are plausible scenarios in which refraining from meat-consumption will not decrease animal suffering; (ii) the utilitarian AWA rests on a false dilemma; and (iii) there are no reasonable grounds for the expectation that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal suffering. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I set out the utilitarian AWA in its original form. I give some background and I distinguish it from other, related arguments. In the second, I discuss the causal impotence objection, a popular objection to the utilitarian AWA. I explain how the objection works by means of a conceptual distinction between consumers and producers. In the third, I explain how proponents of the utilitarian AWA respond to this objection. In particular, I set out in some detail what I call the expected utility response. In the fourth and final section, I use the three objections noted above to explain why I do not find this response convincing.

Similar books and articles

Animals and Causal Impotence: A Deontological View.Blake Hereth - 2016 - Between the Species 19 (1):32-51.
Is Animal Suffering Really All That Matters? The Move from Suffering to Vegetarianism.Carlo Alvaro - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (4):633-645.
Animal care ethics, ANZCCART, and public perceptions of animal use ethics.Fred Gifford - 2000 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (3-4):249-257.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-02-27

Downloads
896 (#8,655)

6 months
129 (#5,476)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

References found in this work

Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
Animal Liberation.Bill Puka & Peter Singer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):557.
Do I Make a Difference?Shelly Kagan - 2011 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (2):105-141.
Field Deaths in Plant Agriculture.Bob Fischer & Andy Lamey - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):409-428.

View all 46 references / Add more references