Virtual event tomorrow (Nov. 6th) on meat eating & COVID-19 with Dr. Cheryl Abbate

Coronavirus Disease: Is it safe to eat meat and poultry?

Friday, November 6th (3:00 Pacific Time), Dr. Cheryl Abbate, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will give a public virtual talk on moral responsibility for meat eating in the COVID-19 era. All are welcome to attend. Click here to register for the event.

Here is the event description:

COVID-19 is linked to meat consumption, but it doesn’t seem to be causally connected to the meat that most Westerners eat. Rather, the cause of COVID-19 appears to be tied to the wildlife trade and not conventional animal agriculture. Nevertheless, animal advocates draw connections between pandemics and meat-eating in a way that seems to be designed to assign some kind of blame, or partial responsibility to, all meat eaters, including those with no connection to the wildlife trade, for the COVID-19 outbreak. Is this just confused, or can we make some sense of it?

In my talk, I’ll argue that Western meat eaters share responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic even if their behavior didn’t play a causal role in the production of this pandemic. In doing so, I’ll defend three different arguments: the argument from risky behavior, the argument from worsening impacts, and the argument from collective habits. I’ll moreover introduce and defend a new expansive notion of shared responsibility–non-causal counterfactual responsibility. As I will argue, because all meat eaters engage in pandemic-risky behavior, they are all part of the total “pandemic risk.” And because Western meat eaters contribute to the “pandemic risk,” they, too, are morally responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic (and factory farms, too, are morally responsible for the pandemic). After all, it could’ve been beef that caused a 2019 pandemic.

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