The moral basis of vegetarianism

Saachi Chowdhry

The paper titled ‘The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism’ explores vegetarianism as a philosophy and not as a dietary preference determined by consideration of health or lifestyle. In this regard, vegetarian outlook requires clarity of terms and full examination of a broad range of philosophical issues associated with it. The paper begins with clarifying the meaning of the term ‘vegetarian’ or a ‘vegetarian diet’ which is ambiguous in terms of food inclusions and exclusions. Some loose and general descriptions of the term ‘vegetarian’ make it a matter of personal taste and preference. But through the arguments of Carol J. Adams and R.G. Frey, vegetarianism can be presented as the conscious and deliberate boycott of meat under all circumstances. However, when the diet of non-vegetarians undergoes a change to the extent that they refuse to consume meat as well as animal derivatives the case in question need not always be a moral one. In this sense moral vegetarianism has been contrasted with non-moral vegetarianism. It will be argued that the boycott of meat on moral grounds is not necessarily trying to rid us of our liking for meat, but instead reinforces the claim that eating meat is ethically wrong. The paper concludes by discussing that our consumption practices are acts for which we are morally accountable. So it is important to think consciously about consumption practices in order to make way for vegetarianism as a sustainable way of life.

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