The philosophical literature may seem to be replete with arguments for vegetarianism based on harm to animals. However, these arguments turn out to be arguments for veganism, not vegetarianism. This chapter explores whether anything can be said for vegetarianism. Some reasons motivating vegetarianism seem to be very personal, and so not the sorts of things that could be the foundation of a moral argument. Meanwhile, though they may hold some weight, arguments about vegetarianism as a “middle way” between veganism and omnivorism are highly contingent. Both of these routes, then, may seem unsatisfying to the vegetarian. Could there be a principled case for vegetarianism? Tzachi Zamir is the one philosopher who has argued at length for vegetarianism over veganism, but a close examination of his arguments show that they are not as compelling as they first seem. A final option remains open: there may be potential for arguments critiquing the eating of animals’ flesh and/or their bodies that are independent of concerns about harms to animals in food production. Such arguments, which have been hinted at in animal ethics, offer a critique of meat consumption, but not, necessarily, of egg and dairy consumption. Perhaps, then, they could form the basis of a principled case for vegetarianism that does not immediately become a case for veganism. The consequences of such an argument, if one can be made, are not simple.
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