The Logic of not eating meat

post by sashinexists · 2019-11-11T11:48:08.182Z · EA · GW · 2 comments

This is a link post for


  Summary: I am sharing a piece I believe will be useful to EAs. It explains the reasons to forgo eating meat.

Summary: I am sharing a piece I believe will be useful to EAs. It explains the reasons to forgo eating meat.

Many have gotten back to me saying it was valuable having a single reference for all the various reasons. I'm posting this here in the hopes that it may benefit EAs here, either by helping them be more persuasive or having a source to link their non-EA friends to.

This was my very best attempt to write a piece to change minds on this.

Also, if anyone has any feedback or advice it would be much appreciated!

I am under the impression that even as an individual, the decision to no longer eat meat and even animal products makes a non-trivial difference in the world.

If you were to donate a small amount to a charity that cures blindness, over the course of your career you will profoundly impact many lives. Similarly it seems to me, that if you refuse to contribute to factory farming and the slaughter of animals, over the course of your life it will lead to much less suffering in the world.

Both of these would hold even if your actions were in a vacuum but as we know, our behaviours impact those around us and even the systems and cultures we live in for the better.

Naturally if we change any of our behaviours for the better and it inspires another, or otherwise leads others to be more likely to do the same it is like we a multiplying our impact!

This piece aims to explain the reasons why I believe we should forgo eating meat (also with the intention of persuading and helping others persuade).

My reasons were:

  1. Animal Suffering

  2. Environmental Impact

  3. Resource usage

  4. Not really a reason, but I also have a section on how this is much easier than many imagine and doesn't have a negative impact on our happiness long term (as Peter Singer says, we should look at trade offs in terms of well-being)

Each of which I delved into to the best of my ability (I am by no means an expert on the matter). I stayed away from nutrition as I honestly don't know much about it.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-12T04:35:36.739Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This post [LW · GW] by Peter Hurford presents a somewhat similar case.

Things which I found lacking (both in your post and in Peter's), which were my cruxes, are the comparison to ACE recommended charities, and more concrete ways of making it easier (it seems that you are not engaging with what makes the transition difficult).

comment by Mappy (Mario) · 2019-11-11T21:48:20.268Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for sharing this.

  1. One argument I come across is that apart from being symbolic, individual action does not help #1,2 and 3. Elaboration / links to articles that try to quantify the "real" individual effect could probably make the case more persuasive.

  2. If the "real" impact is small then one could argue that the slight inconvenience in following a vegan benifit is comparable to the small benifit that individual action results in.