In The Future of Meat Without Animals. B. Donaldson & C. Carter (eds.) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield International. 2016.
Prepared for the “Future of Meat without Animals” track
10th International Whitehead Conference
Pamona College, Claremont, CA.
Consumers who desire to abstain from purchasing animal products for ethical reasons can find the task challenging. The current economic system in the U.S. is systematically biased against ethical consumption. Three elements of our current system push consumers and producers toward exploitation. First, limited information limits consumer power. Second, competition limits producers’ power. Finally, government actions support animal consumption. None of these biases are necessary. The second half of this chapter outlines possible reforms that will help structure a more humane consumer culture. The important insight is that we can shape institutions to ensure that ethical alternatives are competitively priced and that consumers have the information necessary to make ethical choices.