Can dogs lie? Our dog will 'pretend' to bark at something outside the house when it is near time for her meal or she has not been for a walk. As she has other behaviours to get our attention, patting with her paw, staring mournfully, or stand over us on our lounge - she is a big dog - it seems she 'chooses' to 'lie' at times to get our attention.
Let us assume science has demonstrated that vegetarians and careful vegans are just as healthy as – indeed, considerably healthier than – meat-eaters. (It has.) Robert Nozick came up with an interesting hypothetical for those who continue to choose meat in a world where this is so – for those today who opt for the real bacon over the soy bacon not because it’s necessary for one’s health, and not because they bear ill-will towards pigs, but simply because they like the taste more:
“Suppose . . . that I enjoy swinging a baseball bat. It happens that in front of the only place to swing it stands a cow. Swinging the bat unfortunately would involve smashing the cow’s head. But I wouldn’t get fun from doing that; the pleasure comes from exercising my muscles, swinging well, and so on. It's unfortunate that as a side effect (not a means) of my doing this, the animal's skull gets smashed. To be sure, I could forego swinging the bat, and instead bend down and touch my toes or do some other exercise. But this...
Is it animal abuse to spay/neuter an animal? Most people justify spay/neutering by pointing out that if we sterilize animals, there will be fewer needier animals. But if that's true, why not forcibly sterilize people in third world countries (at least in areas with population problems)?
Why is it more moral to eat a pig than it is to eat a retarded human with the intelligence of a pig? What can account for our revulsion at one and not the other aside from the fact that one would-be morsel looks like us and the other doesn't? Let us assume that the retarded human in question has no friends / family who would be traumatized by his being eaten.
I'd currently call myself a 'pseudo-vegetarian', in that I don't eat meat, but I do eat fish and dairy foods, and use other products derived from animals (e.g. leather, wool).
I became a vegetarian when I was five; arguably, when it was easier for me to hold a black-and-white moral viewpoint.
I would now like to re-evaluate my vegetarianism, so that I can make an informed and (hopefully) ethically coherent decision about the foods I eat and the products I use.
Are there any books you could recommend for me to read? I studied some philosophy at university, and would be interested in reading some balanced discussions of animal rights, vegetarianism and veganism.
Thank you for reading this e-mail, and thank you in advance for your help.
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