Tag Archives: Peter Singer

Our Inherited Diet: Reconsidering the Reason We Eat Meat

Meat

This is the first in a series of posts by students in Fordham University’s Master of Arts in Ethics and Society program.

By: Christopher Kovel

I recently had the opportunity to attend a debate on moral perspectives between famed philosopher Peter Singer, and theologian (and Fordham’s own) Charles Camosy at the idyllic campus of Princeton University. Singer, who is a secular utilitarian, balances his ethical stances on a pain vs. pleasure scale. Reducible to the method of pleasure maximization, Singer uses this calculus to identify rectitude. Camosy, in turn, is a Catholic ethicist, who begins at God and His fundamental goodness. Amid the clash of these disparate mindsets, the two professors tended to find commonality about the gross mistreatment of animals. They both, I learned, abstain from the consumption of animal products because they find the choice morally bankrupt. As I was leaving Princeton, I remembered a recent dinner out with the family:

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For the Love of Animals: Fordham Professor Examines Christian Ethics and the Treatment of Animals in New Book

For-love-of-animals

About 10 years ago, Charles Camosy decided to give up eating meat. Camosy, an assistant professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University, believed that this change in diet was necessary in order to be authentically and consistently Christian and pro-life.

In his new book, For the Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action, Camosy makes the argument that Christian ethics and doctrine require the moral treatment of animals, and are therefore incompatible with the consumption of meat. Using history and scripture, Camosy discusses the roots of this Christian belief, before examining how these ideas translate into everyday life. He asks questions regarding whether Christians should eat meat, and what sort of medical research on animals can be justified, in addition to considering the ethics of pet ownership and hunting.

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Meat-eating and Global Warming

By: Michael Baur

In a 2009 article in the New York Daily News, Princeton philosopher and animal rights advocate Peter Singer proposed that we begin imposing a heavy new tax on the sale of meat.

One justification for such a tax, he argued, was that it would help to reduce meat-consumption and thereby help to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.  As Singer rightly pointed out, a 2006 study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization showed that livestock are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.  More specifically, the study showed that worldwide livestock farming causes about 18% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, while only about 13% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions were caused by all forms of transportion combined (see this BBC news article for more on this).

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