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‘Animals Do It Too!’: The Franklin Defence of Meat-Eating

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The Franklin defence of meat-eating is the claim that meat-eating is morally permissible because animals eat other animals. I examine five versions of this defence. I argue that two versions, claiming respectively that might is right and that animals deserve to be eaten, can easily be dismissed, and that the version based on a claim that God intends us to eat animals is theologically controversial. I go on to show that the two other versions—one claiming that meat-eating is natural, the other that it is inconsistent to condemn human meat-eating without also trying to prevent animals eating other animals—present some difficulties for the moral vegetarian.

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