Josh Milburn, "Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully" (Oxford UP, 2023)


How would we eat if animals had rights? A standard assumption is that our food systems would be plant-based. But maybe we should reject this assumption. Indeed, this book argues that a future non-vegan food system would be permissible on an animal rights view. It might even be desirable.

In Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully (Oxford University Press, 2023), Josh Milburn questions if the vegan food system risks cutting off many people's pursuit of the 'good life', risks exacerbating food injustices, and risks negative outcomes for animals. If so, then maybe non-vegan food systems would be preferable to vegan food systems, if they could respect animal rights.

Could they? The author provides a rigorous analysis of the ethics of farming invertebrates, producing plant-based meats, developing cultivated animal products, and co-working with animals on genuinely humane farms, arguing that these possibilities offer the chance for a food system that is non-vegan, but nonetheless respects animals' rights. He argues that there is a way for us to have our cake, and eat it too, because we can have our cow, and eat her too.

Josh Milburn is a British philosopher and a Lecturer in Political Philosophy at Loughborough University. He has previously worked at the University of Sheffield, the University of York, and Queen's University (in Canada), before which he studied at Queen's University Belfast and Lancaster University. He is the author of Just Fodder: The Ethics of Feeding Animals (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022), and the regular host of the animal studies podcast Knowing Animals.

Kyle Johannsen is a philosophy instructor at Trent University and Wilfrid Laurier University. His most recent book is Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering (Routledge, 2021).

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Kyle Johannsen

Kyle Johannsen is an academic philosopher who does research in animal and environmental ethics, and in political philosophy. His most recent book is Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering (Routledge, 2021). His personal website is here.

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