The morality of animals

Interventionism or isolationism

There are two types of vegans: those who do not want to interfere in nature and those who want to make nature good. Given that non-interference runs quickly into contradiction we must embrace the moral force of animal pain and act on our instincts argues Christopher Belshaw.


A sunny afternoon in autumn, and you are enjoying a walk in the woods. Just after turning a corner, you notice a stoat close to a rabbit on the track ahead. The rabbit is motionless. Shout or clap your hands and both animals will run away. Do nothing and the rabbit will be killed. Should you intervene?

Vegans are principally concerned with human rather animal diets. Rabbit and other meats is off the menu, along with fish, birds, eggs, milk and milk products. In having an explicit concern with hurting as well as killing animals means that their position is clearer and more consistent than that of vegetarians. But is it clear and consistent through and through? 

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Kelvin James 1 February 2021

Nice post.

Kimmish 7 December 2020

Interesting article. I think animals do have morality. It's different between species clearly but when I see how many animals live, it is clearly noble and altrusitic. Obviously there is a huge political motivation to arguing that animals do not have hearts/ minds similar to our own.