We all agree that animals matter morally, and that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals. Although we may disagree about whether some specific uses of animals qualify as necessary, it is clear that pleasure, convenience, or amusement cannot be acceptable reasons for harming or killing animals because they do not involve necessity. We are repelled by activities like dogfighting, where the animals are harmed just because it brings pleasure to some people, like the infamous Michael Vick.
So how can we justify the fact that we kill many billions of land animals and fish every year for food? Even under the most "humane" circumstances, our use of animals for food involves suffering and death. We cannot justify our participation in this violence by claiming that it is necessary. Dieticians have long known that animal foods are not necessary for optimal health. Indeed, mounting empirical evidence suggests that they are detrimental for human health. Even if there is disagreement about how harmful they are, there is broad consensus that animal products are not necessary. Furthermore, animal agriculture is an ecological disaster, responsible for water pollution, air pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, global warming, and all sorts of other environmental harms. And animal agriculture is not necessary to feed the world's population; on the contrary, it contributes significantly to human poverty and starvation by making wildly inefficient use of arable land, plant foods, and drinking water.
Our palate pleasure is the best justification we can offer for inflicting suffering and death on the billions of animals we kill for food every year. We enjoy the taste of animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. But how is this any different, morally, from someone like Michael Vick saying he enjoys watching dogs fight? Some people like sitting around a pit watching animals fight. The rest of us enjoy sitting around a summer barbecue pit, roasting the corpses of animals who were made to suffer and die in order to end up on our plates. What is the difference between a dogfighter like Michael Vick and the rest of us who eat animal foods?
This book shows that, while there may be a psychological difference, there is no difference that matters morally. When we consume animal foods, we inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals. And none of the arguments that we think can justify or excuse this behavior is valid upon closer examination.
The authors argue persuasively that the moral obligation to eat a vegan diet follows from our conventional wisdom regarding animals. It doesn't matter what you think of animal rights theory, or if you feel, as most people do, that humans are more important than animals. If you think animals matter at all morally – if you reject the idea that animals are just things – then your own beliefs commit you to a vegan diet.
As you will see, there is nothing "extreme" about veganism; what is extreme is the inconsistency between what we all say we believe and how we act where animals are concerned.
Is this book for you?
- Have you ever loved an animal, or did you ever have a pet who was part of your family?
- Do you think animals matter morally?
- Do you know where your animal products come from?
- Are you concerned about the treatment of animals in factory farms?
- Do you buy "cage-free" eggs, "organic" milk, or "free-range" meat?
- Have you considered becoming a vegetarian?
- Are you already a vegetarian for moral reasons?
- Have you considered becoming a vegan?
- Do you have personal friends or family who are vegan and would you like to understand them better?
- Are you already a vegan and would you like to learn effective ways of responding to questions?
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, this book was written for you. Don't hesitate - get it now!