This paper analyses the article of Steven Davis entitled, "Least Harm," which argues that the number of animals killed in ruminant-pasture production is less than the number of animals killed in crop production. Davis concludes the adoption of an omnivorous diet would cause less harm than the adoption of a vegetarian diet. It is argued that Davis's argument fails on three counts. First, Davis makes a mathematical error in using total rather than per capita estimates of animals killed. Second, he focuses on the number of animals killed in production and ignores the welfare of these animals. Third, he does not count the number of animals who may be prevented from existing. When we correct these errors, Davis's argument makes a strong case for, rather than against, adopting a vegetarian diet: vegetarianism kills fewer animals, involves better treatment of animals, and likely allows a greater number of animals with lives worth living to exist.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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