November, 2021

Why It's OK to Eat Meat

  • Dan Shahar

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Vegetarians have argued at great length that meat-eating is wrong. Even so, the vast majority of people continue to eat meat, and even most vegetarians eventually give up on their diets. Does this prove these people must be morally corrupt?

In Why It’s OK to Eat Meat, Dan C. Shahar argues the answer is no: it’s entirely possible to be an ethical person while continuing to eat meat—and not just the "fancy" offerings from the farmers' market but also the regular meat we find at most supermarkets and restaurants. Shahar’s examination forcefully echoes vegetarians’ concerns about the meat industry’s impacts on animals, workers, the environment, and public health. However, he shows that the most influential ethical arguments for avoiding meat on the basis of these considerations are ultimately unpersuasive. Instead of insisting we all become vegetarians, Shahar argues each of us has broad latitude to choose which of the world’s problems to tackle, in what ways, and to what extents, and hence people can decline to take up this particular form of activism without doing anything wrong.