Abstract:

70 billion non-human land animals are slaughtered for human consumption annually worldwide; 10s of billions more are killed as by-products of cheese and egg production; and many more again as feed for these animals. Many criteria pertain to the decision to consume these fats and protein: the visceral, economic, health, environment and moral. Many people, such as lacto-ovo vegetarians, select which of these fats or proteins to eat based on moral and ethical criteria. Which fats and proteins are more ethical though? Is an omelette more ethical than a steak? And based on which moral criteria?

This presentation will introduce a planned piece of research which aims to quantify the labour non-human animals contribute to the production of fats and proteins for human consumption. Drawing on Critical Animal Studies and Ecofeminist work the research will firstly seek to establish the forms of labour non-human animals contribute, such as: days enslavement; physical and emotional abuse; exploitation; and deaths. The research will then seek to quantify specifically the number of deaths entailed in the production of each form of non-human animal fat and protein. It aims to establish what non-human animal labour is involved in, for example, a serving of omelette and whether fewer deaths are involved in its production compared to a steak. It intends to understand whether counter intuitively it might be more. The research goal aims to enable an informed comparison to be made by those wishing to minimise the number of non-human animal deaths involved in their dietary choices.

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