Animal ethics as a critique of animal agriculture, environmentalism, foodieism, locavorism, and clean meat
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM Robert C. Jones
November 2020

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What I see as the root cause of the suffering of countless sentient beings.

Robert C. Jones

In all of human history, approximately 110 billion Homo sapiens have ever walked the planet (Curtin, 2007). However, in just one Earth year, Homo sapiens slaughter more than 70 billion land animals, while the global commercial fishing industry kills 1–3 trillion animals each year (Animal Advocacy by Numbers, 2016 ).

Most individual land animals are raised in conditions that cause great suffering within a global system so vast that one-third of the Earth’s surface is devoted to imprisoning, transporting, and killing other beings for their milk, eggs, flesh, skin, and bones (Bland, 2012). If that were not enough, world fish- ing trends point to a global eradication of all taxa currently fished by the year 2048 (Worm et al., 2006 ). Surely, by any coherent calculus, these figures amount to a moral atrocity.

Given these dire facts, the focus of this chapter is to examine some of the key concepts and debates in the areas of environmental, food, and animal ethics; to look at some of the theoretical ethical arguments for ending animal exploitation; to challenge some of the key justifications from those in the environmental, foodie, and locavore movements who are so attached to “humane” exploitation; to investigate whether so-called “clean meat” will end animal agriculture as we know it; and finally gesture toward what I see as the root cause of the suffering of countless sentient beings.


  • Ethics basics: Moral status, moral value, and anthropocentrism
  • Ethical foundations of the modern animal rights movement
  • Animal liberation never was a triangular affair
  • Foodieism and locavorism: A celebration of “humane” exploitation
  • Will “clean meat” end animal agriculture?
  • Redefining speciesism



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