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Animal Rights

Autor:   •  February 22, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,004 Words (5 Pages)  •  970 Views

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Animal Rights

The common attitude toward animals is that they are merely resources that humans can dispose of as needed; giving them only instrumental value. It is argued that animals should have moral status. However, many people claim that only humans have moral status and that animals have just indirect value to humans. Utilitarian philosopher, Peter Singer, argues that what makes a being worthy of moral concern is its capacity for suffering, and since both humans and animals can suffer, they both deserve equal moral consideration.

Peter Singer, in his article "All Animals are Equal," aims to challenge the way that society at treats and perceives animals. He suggests that animals should be treated with the same principles of equality that humans receive. Singer states: "I am urging that we extend to other species the basic principle of equality that most of us recognize should be extended to all members of our own species" (Singer). In his view, not giving equal consideration to animals is the same as justifying human discrimination such as racism and sexism. He points out that there are important differences between humans and animals , and these differences must give rise to some differences in the rights that each have. "Humans come in different shapes and sizes, they come with differing moral capacities, differing intellectual abilities, differing amounts of benevolent feeling and sensitivity to the needs of others, differing abilities to communicate effectively, and differing capacities to feel pleasure and pain" (Singer). He points out that there are many physiological traits that separate humans, these traits can be used to justify human discrimination. Concluding that physiological differences cannot be used as a property of any kind of discrimination, that equality is a moral idea; therefore animals should be given the same rights as humans.

Singer focuses on the capacity for suffering and enjoying things is a prerequisite for having interests. Animals have interests and are capable of suffering. He uses the example of a stone being kicked by a school boy. It was not in the interests of the stone to be kicked along the road by a school boy because the stone has no interests, it does not suffer. As opposed to a mouse that has interests, not being tormented, because it will suffer. If a being is not capable of suffering or of experiencing enjoyment or happiness, there is nothing to take into account.

He points out that the majority of humans have the most direct form of contact with members of other species at meal times because we eat them. We treat them as means to our ends, regarding their life and well being a subordinate to our taste for particular dishes because it pleases our palate. Singer makes a great point: "In order to have meat on the table at a price that people can afford, our society


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