Since January 1, I've been trying to increase the number of vegan meals and dishes my (vegetarian) family eats. More than half the time, these vegan concoctions have been taste-challenged. What does that mean, morally speaking? Do I have a duty to give up yummy food and eat yucky food, for the sake of animals?
This question will be found irritating by fervent vegans. They will insist that vegan food is delicious. But their point of view isn't the one that counts. What matters is what vegan food tastes like to a non-vegan.
Setting aside my own food experiments (maybe I'm just using the wrong cookbook), take someone we'll call "John". This might be a real person I know, but might not (call off the lawyers!). John is a meat and potatoes guy. He doesn't even like vegetables on the side. To him, a vegetarian dinner is dull, and a vegan dinner beyond dull. And don't say he hasn't tried them--he has. He finds vegan food austere, weird, just not satisfying.
Please: don't pretend nobody's like that. Don't think all John needs to do is eat at your favorite vegan restaurant and he'll be thrilled. It ain't so.
What is John morally required to do? It would be silly to say "if it tastes good, do it." It can't possibly be that taste is completely exculpatory, that you're free to do anything in the service of flavor. But can it be that a person is required to consistently lower eating pleasure by 50%, or 75%, or 90%, for the sake of animals?
If you look at the matter "from the point of view of the universe," then yes. Giving no more weight to John's interests than to an animal's, it seems very clear that he should change his ways. But given all the facts as laid out, it really seems odd to expect this sacrifice from him.
Why is it odd? What's going on here? I confess that I'm not sure (yet!).