The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

Is there moral justification to eat meat?

Gregory F Tague

The Ecological Citizen Vol 6 No 1 2023: 60–5 [epub-082]

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First published: 14 December 2022  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


This paper discusses and rejects the anthropocentric claim, proposed by Zangwill (2021), that we have a moral duty to eat meat. It argues that Zangwill ignores both the extensive ecological damage caused by animal agriculture, and the cruelty and suffering that it entails. Using a framework proposed in Marino and Mountain (2021), it then diagnoses Zangwill's argument as proceeding from a broader cultural phenomenon: the human attempt to cope with our existential dread of death, by denying our mammalian nature and depersonalizing other, non-human, animals. Once we reject this human exceptionalism, we will see that our moral duty is not to eat animals but to respect the intrinsic value of their lives.



Animal ethics, Human supremacy, Values