Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):161 (2020)

Authors
Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
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.
Keywords Veganism  Animal welfare  Animal suffering  Causal impotence objection  Expected utility  Animal ethics  Factory farming  Utilitarianism  Ethics of consumption  Confined animal feeding operations
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DOI 10.5406/janimalethics.10.2.0161
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References found in this work BETA

Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
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.
Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases.Alastair Norcross - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):229–245.

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