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Are the moral arguments for vegetarianism rational?

People often argue for vegetarianism on the grounds that a person can (and perhaps should) regard the lives of animals to be a higher value than the advantages to eating meat such as taste or nutrition. Is this a rational moral outlook, consistent with rational egoism?

Arianna , 01.01.2013, 10:53
Idea status: completed


DianaHsieh, 08.01.2013, 20:57
Here's the original version of the question:

Is vegetarianism compatible with Objectivism?

That is, can it be morally justified according to Objectivist principles, such as through an individual holding the lives of animals to be a higher value than the advantages (such as taste or nutrition) gained by eating meat?
Erin Mastrantonio, 20.06.2013, 23:04
I personally don't eat meat (and very little dairy) because it is the ideal diet for me. I sleep better, feel better, and look better on that diet, but wouldn't necessarily assume that outcome for everyone. However, there are definitely economic, Free Market arguments for vegetarianism, given the massive subsidies that the US govt gives to the meat and dairy industry here. Although my primary reasons for being vegetarian are strictly nutritional, I would be very interested to hear Diana's take on the moral side of this...
Marc, 29.08.2013, 15:04
I read a book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman entitled "Eat to Live." He advocated a vegan diet or at least one that is 90% plant based. It seems like the Paleo-diet is all the rage with Objectivists these days, but I like this diet. I eat mostly vegetables, lettuce, some whole grains like oatmeal and a lot of nuts, beans, and lentils. I eat very little processed food or flour. I eat meat maybe once a week when I go to my Mom's for dinner. Once in a great while I'll even have cheese enchiladas, but cheese is probably the worst thing you can eat. I have now dated a couple vegetarians and a vegan and they drive me crazy. One time someone offered me to try a French fry and the vegan said "Don't eat that--they cook it in duck fat!" I didn't even want it, but I ate it. :) They choose the diet for animal rights and some of them eat a lot of cheese, ice cream or even beans with lard in them because they don't do the research. I think the main reason why I even eat the meat that I do is because I don't want to become one of those people. I call them vegetarians who hardly eat vegetables. They are the worst kind because they are actually sacrificing themselves for animals. I mean I don't kick dogs or anything, but if it's the zombie apocolypse and I'm stuck in a basement with the choice of eating Lassie or starving to death....I'm not going to turn. ;)
Kristin, 15.10.2014, 16:15
I think that any diet an objectivist chooses to follow (with the exception of cannibalism) is compatible with objectivism. People should do what they find is best for their own mind and body. I chose to stop eating meat at age twelve when I read about the way animals are treated in many factory farms. It truly horrified me. As I grew older, I also began to appreciate the benefits of a healthy diet. However, I understand that this is a personal decision that is not going to be the same for everyone, including us objectivists. I am also interested in hearing what Diana has to say regarding the meat/dairy government subsidies.

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