Animal (De)liberation: Should the Consumption of Animal Products Be Banned?
In this book, Jan Deckers addresses the most crucial question that people must deliberate in relation to how we should treat other animals: whether we should eat animal products.
Many people object to the consumption of animal products from the conviction that it inflicts pain, suffering, and death upon animals. This book argues that a convincing ethical theory cannot be based on these important concerns: rather, it must focus on our interest in human health. Tending to this interest demands not only that we extend speciesism—the attribution of special significance to members of our own species merely because they belong to the same species as ourself—towards nonhuman animals, but also that we safeguard the integrity of nature.
In this light, projects that aim to engineer the genetic material of animals to reduce their capacities to feel pain and to suffer are morally suspect. The same applies to projects that aim to develop in-vitro flesh, even if the production of such flesh should be welcomed on other grounds.
The theory proposed in this book is accompanied by a political goal, the ‘vegan project’, which strives for a qualified ban on the consumption of animal products. Deckers also provides empirical evidence that some support for this goal exists already, and his analysis of the views of others—including those of slaughterhouse workers—reveals that the vegan project stands firm in spite of public opposition.
Many charges have been pressed against vegan diets, including: that they alienate human beings from nature; that they increase human food security concerns; and that they are unsustainable. Deckers argues that these charges are legitimate in some cases, but that, in many situations, vegan diets are actually superior.
For those who remain doubtful, the book also contains an appendix that considers whether vegan diets might actually be nutritionally adequate.
- Chapter One: The Consumption of Animal Products and the Human Right to Health Care
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Zoonoses
- 1.3 Land use and degradation
- 1.4 Water use and pollution
- 1.5 The use of fossil fuels and atmospheric pollution
- 1.6 The moral imperative to reduce negative GHIs
- 1.7 Reducing negative GHIs through dietary changes
- 1.8 The case for a radical transformation of agriculture
- 1.9 Conclusion
- Chapter Two: The Ethics of Qualified Moral Veganism
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 The lives of chickens
- 2.3 The lives of pigs
- 2.4 The lives of cows
- 2.5 The lives of fish
- 2.6 The moral imperative to take sentience seriously
- 2.7 Is the minimisation of pain and suffering all that matters?
- 2.8 Is the killing of anaesthetised animals for food acceptable? Weaknesses of existing theories
- 2.9 Recognising that speciesist and animalist interests are morally relevant
- 2.10 Animalism’s distinctive answers in relation to the morality of killing and consuming animals
- 2.11 Human health, the genetic engineering of animals, and animals’ interests in living independently
- 2.12 Human health and in-vitro flesh
- 2.13 The duty to adopt qualified moral veganism
- 2.14 Conclusion
- Chapter Three: The Politics of Qualified Moral Veganism
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Educating people about the reasons underpinning qualified moral veganism
- 3.3 Increasing the costs of animal products
- 3.4 The vegan project
- 3.5 Three objections to the vegan project, and their refutations
- 3.5.1 First objection: People are not ready to adopt a qualified ban, so it is pointless to pursue such a ban
- 3.5.2 Second objection: The vegan project undermines human food security
- 3.5.3 Third objection: The vegan project alienates human beings from nature
- 3.6 Conclusion
- Chapter Four: An Evaluation of Others’ Deliberations
- 4.1 Introduction
- 4.2 Methodology
- 4.3 Thematic analysis and evaluation of the views of academic staff, students, and Newcastle residents
- 4.3.1 Liking the taste of products derived from animals
- 4.3.2 Taste trumps thoughts
- 4.3.3 Health reasons
- 4.3.4 Our bodies have been designed to eat animal products
- 4.3.5 Since some animals eat other animals, we should be free to do so too
- 4.3.6 Animals have been designed to be eaten
- 4.3.7 Animals owe their lives to the fact that we eat them
- 4.3.8 Tradition
- 4.3.9 Questioning the exploitation of animals
- 4.4 Thematic analysis and evaluation of the views of Oldham slaughterhouse workers
- 4.4.1 Power: Being allowed to do something that not many people are allowed to do
- 4.4.2 Sincerity: Facing up to ‘reality’, in contrast to others
- 4.4.3 Fun: Making and having fun
- 4.4.4 Skill: Killing better than others, who do not do so properly
- 4.4.5 Religion: Being justified by Yahweh/God/Allah
- 4.5 Conclusion
- Appendix: Might a Vegan Diet Be Healthy, or Even Healthier?
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Might vegan diets be healthy?
- 3 Might vegan diets be healthier than other diets?
- 4 Conclusion
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