Journal of Animal Ethics. 2015. 5(2): 126-134.
First delivered as a lecture at the 2014 Wake-up Weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Increasing efficient production of commercial animal products has resulted in decreased quality of life and shorter life-spans for the animals being farmed and bred. Should this animal welfare problem be blamed on farmers or consumers? Or should we blame the capitalist system? I argue that it is precisely the elements of the market economy that make it so successful that also result in poor outcomes for animals in the system. Understanding the way in which capitalism is the problem allows us to think clearly about what reforms are necessary to improve the lives of non-human animals.
Keywords: welfare, economics, capitalism, technology