The animal lover's paradox? On the ethics of 'pet food'
Animal lovers normally contribute to significant harm inflicted upon nonhuman animals. This is because dogs and cats are fed animal-derived foods, which are the product of death and suffering. This chapter presents an argument suggesting that, typically, people have an obligation to feed their companions a vegan diet. The claim is then defended against three challenges—from dignity, naturalness, and freedom, respectively—that are unsuccessful. A final challenge, from health, is more problematic, and a four-pronged approach to companion veganism is defended. For dogs, people’s moral and political obligations roughly coincide: individually and collectively, people should switch their dogs to vegan diets. For cats, people’s obligations diverge: while individually they should minimize the impact of their companions’ diets, as members of society they have an obligation to come to a greater understanding of how the negative impact of cats’ diets can be fully eliminated.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- International Relations, Politics and History
Published inPets and People: The Ethics of Companion Animals
Pages187 - 202
PublisherOxford University Press
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© Oxford University Press
Publisher statementThis is a draft of a chapter that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the published book Pets and People: The Ethics of Companion Animals edited by Christine Overall, 2017, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001/acprof-9780190456085.