Pros And Cons Of Benign Carnivorism

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With the development of media, transparency of the supply chains of animal products has been improved to a large extent. Thanks to this change, the situations of animals during factory farming process are exposed to the public, making more and more people realize the terrible suffering that animals have to bear in order to be eaten by us. Some people worry about whether we can still eat meat ethically. To strike a balance between eating meat and protecting animal welfare, it is natural to come up with an alternative to factory farming: benign carnivorism, which states that “animals are reared for human consumption but in humane conditions” (McMahan, 2008) However, there are still several ethical concerns that are left unsolved. Jeff McMahan…show more content…
To prove the unjustifiability of benign carnivorism, he attacks its proponents’ general beliefs. First he argues that it is wrong to claim that animal lives do not matter as much as animal suffering Secondly, some proponents of benign carnivorism believe that the practice is “not only permissible but also desirable” because it cannot be worse for animals, which is misleading. Instead, it is correct to say that the practice is good for the animals it causes to exist on the whole. Thirdly, he claims that even though we cannot judge benign carnivorism from animal’s rights, in terms of animal and human’s interest, killing still cannot be justified. Fourthly, he is opposed to the advocates’ claim that painless killing is better than releasing because their assumption is questionable. Also, with an analogy of nuclear deterrence, he emphasize that we should consider the morality of killing at the time of action rather than as a component of the whole practice. Finally, he proposed that by genetically modifying animals to die at a predicable time, we can avoid all the objections mentioned…show more content…
In previous paragraphs he proves that killing cannot be justified at the time of action. This alternative of benign carnivorism combines causing animals to exist and killing them into a single act so that it escapes all his attacks on the original form of benign carnivorism. However, this proposal is objectionable for most people because it seems hypocritical to claim that killing is wrong but causing animals to die at a certain age by GM is right. Although he deals with possible objection to his claim and concludes that “it is not clear why exactly this is wrong”, the issue of genetic engineering on animals is so controversial that we cannot simply accept it without careful examination. Thompson (1997) suggests that if food animals would not be worse off than they are now, then applying GM to increase productivity or quality is acceptable. But the genetic engineering proposed by McMahan is only used to avoid the moral duty of not killing animals. Therefore, by Thompson’s principle, we may be indifferent to the practice in terms of morality. With respect to feasibility, we should notice that it is a quite radical form of genetic modification, which requires major biotechnological breakthrough and may have unpredictable consequences. By the precautionary principle, it is
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