The vegan's dilemma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A common and convincing argument for the moral requirement of veganism is based on the widespread, severe, and unnecessary harm done to animals, the environment, and humans by the practices of animal agriculture. If this harm footprint argument succeeds in showing that producing and consuming animal products is morally impermissible, then parallel harm footprint arguments show that a vast array of modern practices are impermissible. On this first horn of the dilemma, by engaging in these practices, vegans are living immorally by their own lights. This first horn can be avoided by assuming that morality requires not minimizing harm, but only keeping the harm of our actions within some budget. On the second horn, however, we recognize that there are many ways of keeping our harm footprints within budget other than through our dietary choices. On the second horn of the vegan's dilemma, therefore, veganism is not a moral requirement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-367
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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