Vegan organizations maintain that animals have certain rights, and as such is not ethical for humans to use animals in ways that infringe those rights.

Legal theorist Gary L. Francione argues that sentience in animals is sufficient to grant them moral consideration and that adopting veganism should be regarded as the “baseline” action taken by people concerned with animal rights. Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer argues that the suffering of sentient animals is relevant to ethical decisions, and advocates both veganism and improved conditions for farm animals as a means to reduce animal suffering.

William Jarvis has questioned the validity of the ethical claims put forward by vegans, stating that “the belief that all life is sacred can lead to absurdities such as allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, or vipers to run loose on one’s premises.” However, vegans like Peter Singer follow veganism for other reasons. Singer, who does not believe that all animal life is sacred, advocates veganism for utilitarian reasons, stating that the benefit caused by a good taste for the human who consumes animal products is more than negated by the pain felt by the beings who are consumed.
Steven Davis, professor of animal science at Oregon State University, argues that the

number of wild animals killed in crop production is greater than those killed in

ruminant-pasture production. Whenever a tractor goes through a field to plow, disc, cultivate, apply fertilizer and/or pesticide, and harvest, animals are killed. Davis gives a small sampling of U.S. field animals that are threatened by intensive crop production, including many mammals, birds and amphibians. In one small example, an alfalfa harvest caused a 50% decline in the gray-tailed vole population. According to Davis, if all the cropland in the U. S. were used to produce crops for a vegan diet, it is estimated that around 1.8 billion animals would be killed annually.

Gaverick Matheny, a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural economics at the University of Maryland, counters that Davis’ reasoning contains several major flaws, including distorting the notion of “harm” to animals, and miscalculating the number of animal deaths based on areas of land rather than per consumer. For example, currently nearly 10 billion animals are killed each year in the U.S. for food, more than five times greater than Davis’ estimated 1.8 billion for crop harvesting. Matheny says that “After correcting for these errors, Davis’s argument makes a strong case for, rather than against, adopting a vegetarian diet.”

Sources: Wikipedia

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