Considerations of the moral status of animals

Unlike our previous assignments where I have discouraged you from relying on sources other than our assigned materials, this one requires some outside research. In reading Chapter 5 of DeGrazias book, we see that his arguments against eating meat are based on considerations of the moral status of animals. However, on pp. 75-6, he gives a number of reasons why changing our eating habits would promote human welfare. These are offered as prudent reasons for changing our habits rather than moral reasons. (In other words, these are reasons why changing our habits is prudent; they are not claiming a change is morally required.) For a utilitarian, these facts will actually be part of the moral argument but since DeGrazia is arguing based on rights, they are not part of the moral argument for him.

For this assignment, pick one of the kinds of reasons he offers on those two pages and briefly checks it out.

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What evidence can you find?

Does the evidence support or contradict DeGrazia’s claims? (Obviously, really checking things out would require searching many sources, but for this assignment, one is fine. We’re going to rely on the fact that everyone in the course is finding one source to give us a variety of kinds of evidence.)

For your post, you will need to find one outside source (i.e., not any of our assigned readings). It needs to be a responsible source (e.g., not the website for a company or the Beef Board, not Wikipedia, etc.). It can come from a textbook, from responsible websites, from journal articles, books in the library, etc. Use good judgment. Ask me if you are uncertain.

Explain the information that you found and how it fits with DeGrazias points or contradicts them. Be sure to provide the relevant information on your source so that others can check it out if they so desire.

It should be about 250-300 words long. It is worth 20 points.

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