Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

5.4: Factory Farming vs. Vegetarianism vs. Veganism vs. “Humane” Animal Agriculture vs.??

  • Page ID
    31072
  • To return to the first Chapter, we can envision Regan’s “cat case” transformed into a fur-bearer and an animal farmed for food. Here are some of the options:

    1. Any (or almost any) use of those animals is morally permissible; there are no moral obligations to those animals.
    2. Seriously harming those animals (e.g., causing them pain and suffering, killing them, etc.) is morally permissible provided they are housed in comfortable cages.
    3. Seriously harming those animals is permissible provided they are housed in comfortable cages, treated gently and killed painlessly.
    4. Seriously harming those animals is typically morally wrong, even if they are housed in comfortable cages, treated gently and killed painlessly.

    Option (3) is intended to be analogous to so-called “humane” animal farming and slaughter. While everyone agrees that this is better for animals than factory farming, the question still remains: is this treatment of animals is morally permissible or not? If something like option (4) is the most ethically defensible option, then (3) is not.

    • Was this article helpful?