• Anna Schjøtt Irving
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
In my thesis, I seek to answer the question of my problem formulation which is: Which forms of legal coercion are justified in order to ensure a reduction in the use of animal agriculture with the objective to mitigate climate change and the consequences hereof? To answer this question, I apply Joel Feinberg’s Harm Principle to the problem, and argue that if the practice of animal agriculture harms others in a substantial and relevant way, then legal coercion may be put in place in order to mitigate climate change. I use the term legal coercion (instead of state coercion or another specific entity) because global warming is a global issue which calls for a global solution, and not only solutions from one country or state. I also apply a broader definition of what harm entails, with the help from Simester and von Hirsch and their concepts on non-standard harm. I discuss how animal agriculture is a non-standard harm, and that it can be viewed under the harm principle thus legitimising legal coercion. I also introduce legal moralism as an opponent to the Harm Principle, with the objective to strengthen my primary theory. I discuss the difference between different farmers (Old McDonald and Farmer Faisil respectively) and their contribution to global warming, and how legal coercion can be different according to where in the world they are situated. I discuss different forms of legal coercion, starting with the most coercive legislative measures moving towards the least legislative measures. To answer my thesis statement, I find that the forms of legal coercion which are justified in order to ensure climate mitigation through animal agriculture must, first, be proportionate with the harm animal agriculture causes. That is to say: no actor must be harmed in a different manner through this coercion. Second, not all farmers can be treated in the same way, in respect to coercion, being that there is a geographical, economic or societal difference which affects their contribution to global warming. My third and final point, is that climate change and the mitigation hereof is an intricate subject which many different factors why play important roles and many different interests must also be considered. However, animal agriculture causes a substantial harm, which must be prevented, and this can be done through legal coercion which prevents Old McDonald in both contributing further to the problem and coerces him into implementing mitigation strategies. Legal coercion can also be implemented in order to help Farmer Faisil optimise his farm, thus not contributing further to climate change.
Publication date7 Jun 2021
Number of pages79
ID: 414000794