Eating Animals: An Ethical Analysis

1545 Words 7 Pages
In the 2014 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) article, “Ethics Guide: Eating Animals,” it examines three different ethical perspectives – the rights argument, the consequential (utilitarian) argument, and the virtue argument – against the rearing and killing of animals for human consumption in layman’s terms primarily for the average contemporary reader in Anglo-American societies (such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom). Furthermore, the BBC, a leading worldwide media corporation, contends that the process of rearing, killing and eating animals is “morally wrong” or unjustifiable because these acts disregard the rights of the animal to live by its own interests. Its aim is to inform the reader of these perspectives so …show more content…
In fact, every argument in the article – whether the rights argument, the consequential (utilitarian) argument, or the virtue argument – supports its belief against the immoral practice of rearing, killing, and eating animals for human consumption. For instance, instead of offering a variety of quotes from distinctive ethics scholars along with scientific research to strengthen each argument, the article offers one single quote from the ethics scholar Russ-Shafer Landau under the virtue argument, an argument it continually approves of and revisits throughout the article. For example, throughout the article the BBC continues to emphasize the unsupportive individual’s input in animal cruelty as a consumer, even suggesting through Landau’s quote that consumers should or must seek alternatives to animal meat when there are other morally superior food options – like vegetables. Additionally, the BBC fails to further explore the opposing viewpoints posed in its article. One example is the consequential (utilitarian) argument that the world would be better for everyone if everyone became a vegetarian. This argument assumes the conclusion that a moral person is vegetarian; hence, if all people are vegetarian then everyone will act in a morally good manner. However, mere the fact that an act is moral does not …show more content…
A moral fact, according to communications scholar Wade Rowland in his book, Greed, Inc., is a claim by moral realists that there are moral facts, beyond simple opinions, comparable to scientific or material facts and must be true or wrong (not both) (Rowland 81). In this article, the BBC initially assumes that its definitions of animal rights and interests are a true universal concept that all humans accept, especially when it comes to killing the animal for food, and assumes that nearly all animal produce comes from an abusive factory or farm. However, some cultures, like the Canadian Inuit community at Clyde River in Nunavut, have a different approach to the issue of eating animals. For example, the Clyde community contends that hunting animals is part of a cooperative spiritual and physical balance of between humans and animals (seals); proper hunting (killing), cooking and sharing of the meat ensures that the animal’s spirit receives its respect; and eating animal meat heals their bodies and provides affordable nourishment for a good life (Borré 53). On the other hand, the BBC article argues that animals have the basic right (interest) to live, therefore ending animals’ lives violates this and other rights. However, in the Clyde community, they believe every hunter makes a

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