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Is animal milk healthy?
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The production of milk is unethical

Dairy farms often subject cows to inhumane conditions. The production of animal products, such as milk, has many ethically questionable effects such as causing pain to the animals, reducing animal agency or causing damage to the environment . This has caused many to act if the production of such products is inherently unethical.

The Argument

Cows, or other animals used for milk production, have basic rights that are violated when they are forced to produce milk for human consumption. Dairy cows experience a life much different on a dairy farm than they would in the wild. Calves are taken away from their mothers days after birth, so the mother’s milk can be used for humans. Female cows are artificially inseminated to continue their milk production, often never going through the real mating process with a male cow like they would in nature. Many dairy farms have inhumane conditions for the cows: such as indoor pens with no sunlight, hormone injections to stimulate production, feeding of animals with diets not natural to them, and cows having to live in their own feces due to pens not being cleaned. All of these conditions can lead to serious health problems, injuries, and diseases among cows, this nets in a lower quality of life. Cows in captivity for dairy farming generally have life spans four times shorter than those living in nature.

Counter arguments

Cows are not deserving of basic rights. Kantian ethics, a form of ethics often used to justify so called basic rights is often based on, suggests that the ability to be a moral actor, and as such have moral worth, comes from our rationality. As such we only have a moral duty to respect the ends of other rational consciousnesses. Cows are not rational actors and as such are not deserving of rights. On the other hand utilitarian ethics, an ethical system based on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain, posits that all consciousnesses that feel pleasure and pain possess moral worth. Under this framework cows still don't deserve rights, however as inhumane factory conditions likely produce more pain then the pleasure gained by humans drinking milk, they could be said to be unethical



Cows and animals in general have rights that should not be violated.


P[1] Cows inherently have basic rights that ethically must be fulfilled. P[2] Dairy farming does not fulfill cow’s basic rights.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 08:45 UTC

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