Some responses to Singer’s & John Simmons’ arguments for the conclusion that
not eating animals (in our circumstances) is morally obligatory.
Directions: On a separate piece of paper, state these objections as valid arguments. Add the missing premise(s) needed to make them valid. Are all the premises true? Are there good reasons to be given in defense of all the premises? Are any of the arguments question begging? Explain whether the arguments are sound (i.e., valid with true premises) or not and so whether these objections show that Singer’s argument is not sound. If an argument below is sound, then that implies that a premise in Singer’s and/or Simmons’ argument above is false. If so, which premise is false? Explain.
1. Singer and Simmons are “forcing” someone to not eat meat (perhaps much like Singer was “forcing” people to help starving children). Therefore, their arguments are unsound and so raising animals to kill and eat them is morally permissible.
2. Meat is a necessary part of the diet. Therefore . . .
3. Protein is a necessary part of the diet. Therefore, their arguments are unsound.
4. Cholesterol is a necessary part of the diet. Therefore . . .
5. If Engel’s argument is sound (and so, his moral premises true), then it’s wrong to kill ants and roaches. Therefore . . .
6. Animals are weaker than humans. Therefore . .
7. Meat-eating is a tradition in our society. Therefore . . .
8. There are no other jobs for slaughterhouse workers, and jobs in slaughterhouses are excellent jobs. Therefore . . .
9. Meat tastes good to some people; they like eating it. Therefore . . .
10. Some animals eat other animals. Therefore . . .
11. Humans are animals. Therefore . . .
12. Bad things happen all the time. Therefore . . .
13. We are too busy to not eat animals; not eating animals will prevent us from doing the many good things we are working on. Therefore . . .
14. If Engel’s argument is sound, then all restaurants (esp. fast-food) should close. Therefore . . .
15. Animals have no moral rights. Therefore . .
16. Eskimos and people in the desert have to eat meat and fat; that’s all they have to eat. Therefore . . .
17. Humans do not have natural predators: no other species depends on eating humans to survive. (So we are at the “top” of the “food chain”). Therefore . . .
18. Humans are able to eat animals: it’s something we can do. Therefore . . .
19. People can do whatever they want. Therefore . . .
20. Humans are more important than animals. Therefore . . .
21. Animals are not rational beings: they are not capable of abstract thinking. Therefore .
22. If animals were not raised to be killed and eaten, then the world would be overrun with cows, chickens, and pigs. Therefore . . .
23. If animals were not raised to be killed and eaten, then cows, chickens, and pigs would go extinct. Therefore . . .
24. If it’s wrong to eat animals, then it’s wrong to eat plants. But it’s not wrong to eat plants. Therefore . .
25. It’s not wrong to keep cats and dogs, if they are well-cared for. Therefore . . .
26. Some, but perhaps only a few, humans in the
27. If Engel’s argument is sound, then if animals weren’t fed and raised to be killed and eaten, then plants would have to be raised to be eaten by humans. This would take much more land, more land than we have. Therefore . . .
28. Farmers and ranchers are hard-working people. Therefore . .
29. Farmers and ranchers are not doing anything illegal. Therefore . .
30. Animals do not make moral choices: they don’t make decisions about what they do is right or wrong. Therefore . . .
31. Most people will not accept Engel’s argument as sound, or if they do they will not act on it. Therefore . . .
32. The theory of Darwinian evolution is true. Therefore . . .
33. People make choices to eat meat, and people make choices to not eat meat. They make these decisions. Therefore . . .
34. If vegetarian diets were healthy (or healthier), then the government and doctors would encourage people to be vegetarians (and meat wouldn’t be in the Food Pyramid). Therefore . . .
35. For the main moral premises of his argument, Simmons appeals to common moral beliefs that people already accept, not controversial philosophical theories. Therefore . . .
36. Singer appeals to utilitarianism in making his argument. Therefore . . .
37. Everything on Earth, i.e., everything God made, is good. Therefore . . .
38. God and the Bible says eat meat is morally permissible. Therefore . . .
39. Some good athletes are vegetarian; some good athletes are not. Therefore . . .
40. Humans and animals are not equally important. Therefore . . .
41. If you were starving to death, it would be OK to eat meat. Therefore . .
42. Kant’s arguments, i.e., that ___________, are sound. Therefore . .
43. Machan’s arguments are sound, i.e., that ___________, are sound. Therefore . .
44. Eating animals is natural. Therefore . .
45. It’s inconvenient to not eat meat. Therefore . .
46. People have a moral right to raise and kill animals to eat them. Therefore . .
47. Animals are not harmed when they are raised to raise and kill animals to eat them. Therefore . .
48. Animals are not biologically human. Therefore . .
49. Animals are not people. Therefore . .
 For excellent, lively discussion of these claims, listen to Dr. Matt Haltemann’s "Living Toward the Peaceable Kingdom" (mp3), "Animal Rights & Christian Responsibility" , (mp3) and notes
“Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation” and “Animal Rights and Christian Responsibility” all available at Wheaton College’s Center for Applied Christian Ethics: http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/