ABSTRACT

This chapter provides an overview of the ethical issues at play when using a broadly welfarist perspective to approach questions about what individuals should eat, and about how food for human consumption should be cultivated. It describes some of the historical philosophical debates on what kinds of creature candidates for moral considerability, and on what basis. The chapter shows a discussion of probabilistic moral reasoning and expected utility. It illustrates the welfare of these beings bearing on our moral obligations with the example of pesticide use in agriculture. The chapter outlines consequentialist perspective on these issues, given the emphasis on welfare and numbers. It traces the expanding sphere of moral consideration through Bentham, who argued for the moral value of nonhuman animals, to Singer, who promulgated the popularity of nonhuman animal ethics from a welfare perspective in the late 20th century.