Vegetarian Diet Argumentative Analysis

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In the journal Philosophy in the Contemporary World author William Stephens wrote a fantastic article outlining some arguments in favor of a vegetarian diet. He calls his first argument, “The Argument from Distributive Justice” (Stephens 26). In this section of his defense he explains that eating an omnivore’s diet can actually further harm people living in poverty. This is because it takes away the less expensive grain that people could turn directly into food, and feeds it to animals. Thus, the animal takes the inexpensive resources so it can become fatter and then the slaughtered animal is sold for a price that those in poorer communities cannot afford. This situation literally perpetuates the gap between those who are poor and hungry, and …show more content…
To defend his first point Stephens points out that, “All beings with inherent value have equal inherent value, and a right to be treated respectfully. All moral agents have a duty to respect the rights of all such beings” (Stephens 29). The author says that because animals are beings we must treat them with respect, and not simply as a resource or a means to an end. Unfortunately, with the rise of factory farming we know that animals are not only being treated like items, but are being unnecessarily and harshly abused during their lifetimes. His final argument states that it can be proven that places where meat eating flourishes, a lower life expectancy also flourishes. Inversely, places where plant based diets are common, a long life is common as well. With these five arguments Stephens explains why he believes many people are morally obligated to switch to a vegetarian diet.
In our course, there are so many moral theories that could be used to defend a vegetarian diet. I will focus on two in particular, Utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theory. In The Elements of Moral Philosophy, Utilitarianism is explained. “The principle requires us, in all circumstances, to produce the most happiness and the least unhappiness we can” (Rachels 99). When our animals, environment, malnourished communities, and even our own health are all suffering do to the same cause a Utilitarian approach
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My family is by no means rich, but we are never lacking in the food department. In fact, my family has always tried to shop for the best animal products. We would purchase grass fed beef, chicken from a company called SmartChicken (which works to raise and slaughter chickens in a much healthier and extremely more humane way), we always buy organic milk, and try to find higher quality eggs. Basically, my family already tries to choose better options when it comes to animal products, even when it costs us a little more. In that case, choosing to not eat meat would not be difficult, and is probably less

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