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Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
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Christine Overall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001

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The Animal Lovers’ Paradox?

The Animal Lovers’ Paradox?

On the Ethics of “Pet Food”

(p.187) 13 The Animal Lovers’ Paradox?
Pets and People

Josh Milburn

Oxford University Press

Animal lovers normally contribute to significant harm inflicted upon nonhuman animals. This is because dogs and cats are fed animal-derived foods, which are the product of death and suffering. This chapter presents an argument suggesting that, typically, people have an obligation to feed their companions a vegan diet. The claim is then defended against three challenges—from dignity, naturalness, and freedom, respectively—that are unsuccessful. A final challenge, from health, is more problematic, and a four-pronged approach to companion veganism is defended. For dogs, people’s moral and political obligations roughly coincide: individually and collectively, people should switch their dogs to vegan diets. For cats, people’s obligations diverge: while individually they should minimize the impact of their companions’ diets, as members of society they have an obligation to come to a greater understanding of how the negative impact of cats’ diets can be fully eliminated.

Keywords:   veganism, companion animal, pet food, dignity, dog, cat, naturalness, freedom, health

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