Abstract

A primary contribution of this essay is to provide a survey of the human and environmental impacts of livestock production. We will find that the mass consumption of animals is a primary reason why humans are hungry, fat, or sick and is a leading cause of the depletion and pollution of waterways, the degradation and deforestation of the land, the extinction of species, and the warming of the planet. Recognizing these harms, this essay will consider various solutions being proposed to "shrink" livestock's long shadow, including proposed "technical" or "market" solutions, a transition to "new agrarian" methods, and a vegetarian or vegan diet. Though important and morally relevant qualitative differences exist between industrial and non-industrial methods, this essay will conclude that, given the present and projected size of the human population, the morality and sustainability of one's diet are inversely related to the proportion of animals and animal products one consumes.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-5306
Print ISSN
1085-6633
Pages
pp. 63-93
Launched on MUSE
2011-11-03
Open Access
No
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