Acta Analytica

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 385–406 | Cite as

Factory Farming and Ethical Veganism

  • Eugene MillsEmail author


The most compelling arguments for ethical veganism hinge on premise-pairs linking the serious wrongness of factory farming to that of buying its products: one premise claiming that buying those products stands in a certain relation to factory farming itself, and one claiming that entering into that relation with a seriously wrong practice is itself wrong. I argue that all such “linkage arguments” on offer fail, granting the serious wrongness of factory farming. Each relevant relation is such that if it holds between factory farming and buying its products, then it holds between some seriously wrong practice and economic transactions of an absurd number and breadth. Hence, all these premise-pairs would, if true, generate unacceptable moral overreach; each premise-pair contains at least one unacceptable member, and the linkage arguments for ethical veganism fail.



My chief debt is to those whose arguments I criticize—especially Mylan Engel and Alastair Norcross, with whom I have had productive conversations. A fission-ancestor of this paper was presented at the 2018 Bled Conference on Ethics. I’m grateful to the chief conference organizers (Friderik Klampfer and Justin Weinberg) for spurring me to write the ancestral paper, to the conference participants for spurring me to bifurcate it, and to all of the above and an anonymous referee for prompting the improvement of this fissiondescendant.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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