This post is part of an ongoing series of question explanations for the LSAT. In this post, I explain LSAT PrepTest 54, Section 2, Question 2. If you are looking for a copy of PrepTest 54, check out my post on where to find LSAT PrepTests. If you already have a copy, keep it on hand as you read the explanation.
Question Type: Necessary Assumption
The conclusion of this argument is that many of the people who are most opposed to animal cruelty contribute to that very cruelty. And we are given two premises to support the conclusion: (1) the vast majority of domestic pets are dogs and cats and (2) dogs and cats are usually fed meat.
Since we’re asked us to identify an assumption made by the argument, let’s try to find a missing link. This is almost always a good starting place for necessary assumption questions. To find this link, try to poke a hole in the argument’s reasoning. Imagine for a moment that someone accused you of animal cruelty because you feed meat to your dog. What would be your response? Probably something along the lines of, “Since when does feeding meat to your dog count as animal cruelty?” Regardless of whether you agree or not, the argument assumes that feeding meat to pets counts as animal cruelty. So that’s one possible answer to keep in mind as we analyze the answer choices.
Answer A: This is beyond the scope of our argument; the argument does not include anything about loving animals. The argument also does not include all animals (only domestic pets and those in a laboratory, slaughterhouse, or farm).
Answer B: It’s great that people are opposed to animal cruelty, but we don’t judge answer choices based on our moral inclinations. The only thing that matters is the reasoning. And Answer B is outside the scope of the argument’s reasoning.
Answer C: This may be true, but it is not relevant by the argument. The argument is concerned with people who have pets, not with the morals of certain workers.
Answer D: This answer is also irrelevant to the argument’s reasoning. This answer choice could be referring to any kind of popular pet (like birds, snakes, or hamsters), making it beyond the argument’s scope.
Answer E: Correct! This is not only the assumption we identified at the beginning of our analysis, it passes the negation test as well. If we negate the answer choice, we get: Feeding meat to pets does not contribute to cruelty to animals. If that was the case, the argument would make absolutely no sense. Therefore, as the negation of Answer E destroys the argument, Answer E must be a necessary assumption.