• Robert C. JonesEmail author
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


Those of us living in affluent consumer culture under late capitalism, where plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy are readily available, are morally obligated to adopt vegan practice. The source of this obligation is grounded in a widely held belief, namely, that—all else being equal—unnecessary suffering and premature death are bad things and that acting with relatively minimal cost to oneself to contribute to a decrease in violence, objectification, domination, exploitation, and oppression is something we should all aspire to.1 When I say that we2 are obligated to adopt vegan practice, not just any type of “vegan practice” will do, so I want to argue for a specific type of veganism I call political veganism. I will do that toward the end of this chapter since I first want to establish that it is morally wrong for the vast majority of us living in high-income, highly industrialized, consumer cultures—such as the majority of us living in the Global North—to consume animal3 products.


Animal Product Consumer Good Nonhuman Animal Individual Consumer Animal Suffering 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Almassi, Ben. 2011. The consequences of individual consumption: A defence of threshold arguments for vegetarianism and consumer ethics. Journal of Applied Philosophy 28(4): 396–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barros, Vicente R., Christopher B. Field, et al., eds. 2014. Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, Part B: Regional aspects. IPCC, retrieved January 15, 2016, from
  3. Bass, Robert. 2014. What can one person do? Causal impotence and dietary choice. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  4. Bohanec, Hope. 2013. The ultimate betrayal: Is there happy meat? Bloomington: iUniverse.Google Scholar
  5. Gruen, Lori. 2011. Ethics and animals: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gruen, Lori. 2014. Facing death and practicing grief. In Ecofeminism: Feminist intersections with other animals and the earth, ed. Carol J. Adams and Lori Gruen, 127–141. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  7. Gruen, Lori. 2015. Entangled empathy: An alternative ethic for our relationships with animals. New York: Lantern Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gruen, Lori, and Robert C. Jones. 2015. Veganism as an aspiration. In The moral complexities of eating meat, ed. Ben Bramble and Bob Fischer, 153–171. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harman, Elizabeth. 2015. Eating meat as a morally permissible moral mistake. In Philosophy comes to dinner: Arguments on the ethics of eating, ed. Chignell Andrew, Cuneo Terence, and Halteman Matthew, 215–31. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Hawthorne, Mark. 2013a The problem with palm oil. VegNews, March 22.
  11. Hawthorne, Mark. 2013b. Bleating hearts: The hidden world of animal suffering. Winchester: Changemakers Books.Google Scholar
  12. Imhoff, Dan. 2010. The CAFO reader: The tragedy of industrial animal factories. Healdsburg: Watershed Media/University of California Press [distributor].Google Scholar
  13. Jenkins, Stephanie, and Vasile Stănescu. 2014. One struggle. In Defining critical animal studies: An intersectional social justice approach for libecbrsration, ed. Anthony J. Nocella II, John Sorenson, Kim Socha, and Atsuko Matsuoka, 74–85. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Jones, Robert C. 2015. Animal rights is a social justice issue. Contemporary Justice Review 18(4): 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kheel, M. 2004. Vegetarianism and ecofeminism: Toppling patriarchy with a fork. In Food for thought: The debate over eating meat, ed. Steve F. Sapontzis, 327–341. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  16. MacClellan, Joel. 2014. Animal agriculture and welfare footprints. In Encyclopedia of food and agricultural ethics, ed. Paul B. Thompson and David M. Kaplan, 140–143. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Martin, Adrienne M. 2015. Consumer complicity in factory farming. In Philosophy comes to dinner: Arguments on the ethics of eating, 203–214. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Murtaugh, Paul A., and Michael G. Schlax. 2009. Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals. Global Environmental Change 19(1): 14–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Norcross, Alastair. 2004. Puppies, pigs, and people: Eating meat and marginal cases. Philosophical Perspectives 18(1): 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Plumwood, Val. 2000. Integrating ethical frameworks for animals, humans, and nature: A critical feminist eco-socialist analysis. Ethics and the Environment 5: 285–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rachels, James. 2004. The basic argument for vegetarianism. In Food for thought: The debate over eating meat, ed. Steve F. Sapontzis, 70–80. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  22. Sanbonmatsu, John. 2011. The animal of bad faith: Speciesism as an existential project. In Critical theory and animal liberation, ed. John Sorenson, 29–45. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Weis, Tony. 2013. The ecological hoofprint: The global burden of industrial livestock. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  24. Wolf, Susan. 1982. Moral saints. The Journal of Philosophy 79(8): 419–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, CSU ChicoChicoUSA

Personalised recommendations