Animal Studies Journal


In Deadly Vices, Gabriele Taylor provides a secular analysis of vices which in Christian theology were thought to bring death to the soul: sloth, envy, avarice, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony. She argues that these vices are appropriately singled out and grouped together in that ‘they are destructive of the self and prevent its flourishing’. Using a related approach, I offer a secular analysis of gluttony and cowardice, examining their roles in common failures to empathise with animals. I argue that these vices constitute serious moral failings, for they enable continuing complicity in animal abuse and undermine integrity. While Taylor aims to show that ‘deadly vices’ are destructive of the self, I argue that they are ultimately deadly to other animals. I offer practical suggestions for overcoming them by cultivating agentic courage and better empathy with animals.