- For many ethical issues, a good place to start is to reflect on “common views” about the issues. Suppose you surveyed a range of people and asked them whether it’s morally permissible to wear and/or eat animals and why. What are some of the most common answers that would be given? What reasons would you often hear in favor of these answers? Are these reasons generally good reasons or not? Why?
- Describe how animals are treated by the fur and animal agribusiness industries: what happens to animals when used for these purposes? What are the facts? How do these industries describe how they treat animals? Are they correct in their description of the facts?
- Explain the strongest moral arguments for the conclusions that (a) it’s wrong to kill animals for fur and/or the fur industry is morally impermissible and (b) it’s wrong to raise and kill animals for meat, milk, and eggs and/or the animal agriculture industry – i.e., factory farming – is morally impermissible. Are these arguments sound or not? Explain and defend your views.
- Explain the strongest and/or most common moral arguments for the conclusions that (a) it’s not wrong to kill animals for fur and/or (b) it’s not wrong to raise and kill animals for meat, milk and eggs. Are these arguments sound or not? Explain and defend your views.
- Should people (at least in “modern,” industrialized societies) be vegetarians? Or should they be vegans? Or should they support smaller-scale, non-industrial, so-called “humane” animal farming and slaughter? Or should they support factory farming? Explain which response best captures our moral obligations and why.
Of course, always feel free to raise any other questions, observations, criticisms and any other responses to the Chapter’s readings and issues.
Write a 4-6-page argumentative essay that addresses all these questions and defends your answers from the strongest and/or most common objections:
- In our society, should animals and killed be raised to be eaten? What kind of treatment of farmed animals is morally permissible? Are there any changes that we are morally obligated to make regarding how chickens, pigs, cows and other (currently) farmed animals are treated? Defend your answers with reasons.
- In our society, should animals and killed be raised to be fur- trimmed and fur coats? What kind of treatment of fur-bearers is morally permissible? Are there any changes that we are morally obligated to make regarding how fur-bearers are treated? Defend your answers with reasons.
- What are the relationships between your answers about the fur and food animals issues, and your reasons in favor of these answers?
What should your personal response to these issues be? Should you buy or wear fur? Should you buy or eat meat, eggs and/or dairy products? If yes, from where? If no, why not?