When I search "amoral" in general I seem to only find results about one taking a completely amoral position, nihilistic like, of all ethics/morality. If I search "amoral" with "vegan" or "veganism" I still do not find material actually discussing the position. The closest content I can find is this Quora post that only mentions veganism and amorality.

I see the difference between veganism and not as boiling down to two fundamentally different beliefs. I'm talking about ideology (not reasons behind having a vegan diet: environmental, health, religious, etc.). That is, one either believes that it is morally wrong to kill other animals (more or less sentient animals). Or, one believes killing an animal is not wrong; it is an amoral action.

I am strictly talking about slaughter--not about inflicting pain or suffering. (Slaughter can be carried out virtually painlessly.) I do not equate suffering and slaughter even though they both fall under the word "harm."

Is this position defensible? Is it missing something? The social contract, I think, falls under the idea that killing an animal, in and of itself, is amoral. Although, I don't think it's needed for a decent position against veganism (i.e., slaughtering or painlessly exploiting an animal is wrong).

Arguing from a consistent position against veganism can be a bit tricky. On one side there is Scylla as speciesism. On the other there is Charybdis as taking a 'psychopathic' position (e.g., we should kill/eat mentally disabled people too).


I do not mean plausible intelligent alien life when referring to non-human animals. Let's just keep it simple and take them to be three animals: cows, chickens and pigs.

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    I replaced "amoral" with "morally neutral" because the former has negative connotations and is commonly confused with "immoral". Also "valid" invites "according to whom?" question, so I changed that as well. You can rollback the edit if it does not meet your intentions.
    – Conifold
    Nov 27, 2020 at 7:23
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    Some authors that argue for something like moral neutrality of (animal) meat eating are referenced in Wikipedia, it does involve justifying some form of human moral exceptionalism.
    – Conifold
    Nov 27, 2020 at 7:25

2 Answers 2


There is another possibility: That it is immoral, but we choose to accept this action anyway because the value it brings is esteemed higher than the cost.

Compare this to cars or any other potential danger:

Every year, people die being driven over by a car. This is a risk that we can't eliminate (yet? ever?). You could make the argument that it would be moral to ban cars in order to avoid these victims. Yet society has agreed that these deaths are acceptable and not banning cars is worth these deaths.

In the same train of thought, society has agreed that in order to feed itself (and eat meat), it is acceptable to have... well what we have right now in terms of animal killing.

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    This does not answer my question in any way. The whole point of the question deals with how/why it is not wrong in the first place. There is also a faulty analogy: conflating a potential hazard with a potential risk... along with these deaths being caused by the motorists themselves and not the gov't or "society." Furthermore, "society" doesn't need meat to feed itself. Meat and animal products are not needed to be healthy.
    – adamaero
    Nov 27, 2020 at 16:32

Yes, it is a morally defensible position. Humans have a conception of their futures. They plan for their futures, want to do things in the future, value their futures. Non-human animals do not. Gathering nuts and hibernating is necessarily evolved behaviour for some animals to have a future but that is not the same thing as valuing a future. When you kill humans you are taking away something they value. When you kill a non-human animal you are not taking away something they value, so it is not an immoral act.

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    " Non-human animals do not"(have conception of their future). The examples you gave to support this in your answer are not backed by any scientific or logical deduction!
    – Ben
    Nov 28, 2020 at 8:00
  • Animals do feel pain. However, having almost no self-awareness, no sense of loss, knowing no death makes animals just as incapable of suffering. That's why nne should never equate humans and animals. Nov 28, 2020 at 23:21
  • Lot of unfounded and extremely dubious claims in that last comment. I wouldn't be OK killing a human who could not plan ahead. I am not equating humans to animals. It's just a logical comparison. Vegans who value animals enough to not want them killed are also not necessarily equating humans to other animals (common misconception).
    – adamaero
    Nov 29, 2020 at 17:22

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