Animals and Causal Impotence

Hereth, Blake. "Animals and Causal Impotence: A Deontological View." Between the Species 19, no. 1 (2016): 32-51.

In animal ethics, moral philosophers like Peter Singer and Mylan Engel, Jr. argue that we ought not to purchase or consume animal products because doing so contributes causally to unnecessary suf- fering. Others, such as Russ Shafer-Landau, counter that where such unnecessary suffering is not causally dependent on one’s causal con- tributions, there is no duty to refrain from purchasing animal prod- ucts, even if the process by which those products are produced is morally abhorrent. I argue that there are at least two plausible prin- ciples which ground the wrongness of purchasing animal products produced by morally abhorrent means. First, respect for the wishes and dignity of animals who have been wrongly tortured and killed requires treating their losses as losses, which entails a pro tanto duty to refrain from using their bodies in ways to which they would not consent. Second, we ought to refrain from rewarding wrongdoing, which we fail to do when we purchase or consume immorally pro- duced animal products. 

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