A Harean Perspective on Humane Sustainable Agriculture

Gary E. Varner

in Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199758784
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949465 | DOI:
A Harean Perspective on Humane Sustainable Agriculture

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This chapter illustrates the application of Harean utilitarianism to the debate over what constitutes humane sustainable agriculture. My goal is to illustrate how nuanced and contextualized is a Harean perspective on humans’ use of animals for food, and how subtle forces influence changes in law and common morality over time. To this end the chapter distinguishes among and provide examples of: prelapsarian, contemporary, and utopian visions of sustainability. Examples discussed include slaughter, handling, and housing practices, certification programs, demi-vegetarianism, and in vitro meat. As these examples illustrate, Harean utilitarianism does not produce simple, clear-cut, once-and-for-all answers, but in doing so it reveals rather than obscures the complexities of issues in animal ethics. Because the issues are so complex, diverse moral agents sincerely concerned about animal welfare do not automatically come to consensus on a vision for humane sustainability, and a number of contemporary and utopian visions will always be under discussion.

Keywords: sustainability; agricultural ethics; R.M. Hare; utilitarianism

Chapter.  13356 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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