Coronavirus update

Important information:
All on-campus visits and events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Virtual events will be running as normal unless otherwise stated.  For the latest updates visit our coronavirus information page. Please note that some of our on campus events may be replaced by virtual events - please check with the event organiser listed against each event.

The comparative badness for animals of death and suffering

ERI Building - Room 149 (1st Floor)
Monday 19 May 2014 (16:15-18:00)

Dr Darragh Byrne (email:

Philosophy Society 2013-2014

Jeff McMahan (Rutgers)

The Comparative Badness for Animals of Death and Suffering 

Many people believe that although factory farming is morally objectionable because of the great suffering it inflicts on animals, there is no moral objection to eating the meat of animals that are reared humanely and killed painlessly.  This belief seems to reflect the view that while the suffering of animals matters sufficiently to outweigh the benefits people get from eating them, their continued lives matter much less, and can be outweighed by human pleasures.  I will discuss a variety of issues raised by these common beliefs.  For example: does the suffering of animals matter less morally than the equivalent suffering of persons?  And how bad is death for animals?  Is their interest in continuing to live generally outweighed by the interest people have in eating them?  Is the practice of eating humanely reared animals actually good for animals, and therefore Pareto optimal, because the animals it causes to exist and to have lives worth living would not otherwise exist at all?

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities