Back New article by Pablo Magaña in Journal of Applied Philosophy

New article by Pablo Magaña in Journal of Applied Philosophy

(Not So) Happy Cows: An Autonomy-Based Argument for Regulating Animal Industry Misleading Commercial Speech





‘Happy cow messages’ are instances of commercial speech by the animal industry which, by action or by omission, mislead consumers about the harmful effects that the industry has for non-human animals, the environment, or human health. Despite their ubiquity, happy cow messages have received little philosophical scrutiny. This article aims to call attention to this form of speech, and to make the case for its restriction. To do so we first conceptualize happy cow messages. Second, we argue that they encroach upon individual autonomy in two particularly objectionable ways: by impairing our ability to behave according to our moral convictions, and by thwarting our capacity to identify and reason about our moral duties. This, we hold, grounds a pro tanto case for stricter and more comprehensive regulation of commercial speech by the animal industry. Third, and against the objection that restricting happy cow messages would violate freedom of speech, we contend that none of the most influential arguments for free speech grants them protection. Indeed, we suggest, those rationales seem to call for their restriction. Fourth, and finally, we review some possible ways to defuse the misleading potential of happy cow messages through commercial speech regulations.


Read the full article here.



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