Eating Meat and Not Vaccinating: In Defense of the Analogy

The devastating impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic is prompting renewed scrutiny of practices that heighten the risk of infectious disease. One such practice is refusing available vaccines known to be effective at preventing dangerous communicable diseases. For reasons of preventing individual harm, avoiding complicity in collective harm, and fairness, there is a growing consensus among ethicists that individuals have a duty to get vaccinated. I argue that these same grounds establish an analogous duty to avoid buying and eating most meat sold today, based solely on a concern for human welfare. Meat consumption is a leading driver of infectious disease. Wildlife sales at wet markets, bushmeat hunting, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are all exceptionally risky activities that facilitate disease spread and impose immense harms on human populations. If there is a moral duty to vaccinate, we also should recognize a moral duty to avoid most meat. The paper concludes by considering the implications of this duty for policy.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Jones, B. (2020). Eating meat and not vaccinating: In defense of the analogy. Bioethics 35, 135–142.], which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions:



Work Title Eating Meat and Not Vaccinating: In Defense of the Analogy
Open Access
  1. Ben Jones
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Wiley
Publication Date November 22, 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1111/bioe.12834
  1. Bioethics
Deposited February 23, 2022




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