Peter Singer’s arguments against the morality of the typical American diet focus on the pain of animals, and lead to the conclusion that we must become committed vegans. His approach ignores the impact that different psychological capacities can legitimately have on our moral appraisal of the interests of beings. Although we ought to eat less meat because of the externalized environmental costs that factory farming inflicts upon future people, an ideal diet may contain some environmentally sustainably raised meat. Finally, the perception of ethical puritanism in committed vegans may be an obstacle to achieving the real reductions in animal suffering that they advocate.

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