Knowledge for better food systems

Food, animals, and the environment: an ethical approach

FCRN member Christopher Schlottmann and Jeff Sebo, both of New York University, have written a book discussing empirical, ethical, and social dimensions of food, animals, and the environment, providing both big picture and more detailed analysis, including updated statistics.

Publisher’s summary

Food, Animals, and the Environment: An Ethical Approach examines some of the main impacts that agriculture has on humans, nonhumans, and the environment, as well as some of the main questions that these impacts raise for the ethics of food production, consumption, and activism.

Agriculture is having a lasting effect on this planet. Some forms of agriculture are especially harmful. For example, industrial animal agriculture kills 100+ billion animals per year; consumes vast amounts of land, water, and energy; and produces vast amounts of waste, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Other forms, such as local, organic, and plant-based food, have many benefits, but they also have costs, especially at scale. These impacts raise difficult ethical questions. What do we owe animals, plants, species, and ecosystems? What do we owe people in other nations and future generations? What are the ethics of risk, uncertainty, and collective harm? What is the meaning and value of natural food in a world reshaped by human activity? What are the ethics of supporting and resisting harmful activities? The discussion ranges over cutting-edge topics such as effective altruism, abolition and regulation, individual and structural change, single-issue and multi-issue activism, and legal and illegal activism.

This unique and accessible text is ideal for anyone interested in serious examination of one of the most complex and important moral problems of our time.

 

Reference

Schlottmann, C. and Sebo, J., 2018. Food, Animals and the Environment: An Ethical Approach. Routledge, Abingdon.

For more details, including chapter description and a 20% discount code, see here. See also the Foodsource building block What is animal welfare?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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