Dialogue

Critical Notices/Etudes critiques

The Carnivore Strikes Back

L. W. Sumnera1

a1 University of Toronto

Since philosophers began thinking seriously about the moral status of non-human animals, many of the practices we once took for granted have come to be condemned as unjustifiable, among them our reliance on animals as a food source. While the arguments which have been adduced in support of moral vegetarianism invoke quite different (indeed incompatible) moral frameworks, they begin with a common concern for the welfare of animals. In the real world of practising vegetarians, this concern tends to be subordinated to considerations of health or food scarcity. Philosophical vegetarians need not deny, and have not denied, the importance of these further considerations. But among philosophers the case for moral vegetarianism has rested primarily on arguments from animal welfare.