Economist Steven McMullen says the answer is “Yes”!
In recent years, our ability to produce animal-based food has increased dramatically, but this increased efficiency has come as a result of decreased quality of life and shorter life-spans for the animals. Similarly, industrial breeding of animals for pet stores and experimentation often results in very poor living conditions for animals in the breeding facilities. Should this animal welfare problem be blamed on farmers? Are consumers to blame? Or should we blame the capitalist system in which people operate? McMullen argues that both farmers and consumers are limited in their ability to improve the lives of these animals because of the nature of the market economy in which animal lives are traded. Moreover, it is precisely the elements of the market economy that make it so successful that result in poor outcomes for animals in the system. According to McMullen, understanding the degree to which capitalism is the problem allows us to think clearly about what reforms are necessary really to improve the lives of animals. Join us on Saturday, April 26, at 3:00 pm for a sneak peek at this ground-breaking new research in economically-informed animal studies, soon to be a book in the Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series.