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Animal Abuse Essay

3804 words - 16 pages

Animal Rights

Ethics and morality have consistently been topics of concern in our society. Concerns about ethics and morality also extend to matters associated with the treatment of animals. The purpose of this discussion is to summarize and critique several different theories associated with the ethical treatment of animals. The discussion will focus on the treatment of animals as it relates to hunting and trapping animals, eating animals, using animals for research, and the manner in which domestic and wild animals are treated. The research will summarize and critique several theories including anthropocentrism, Animal liberation, Strong Animal Rights Theory, ...view middle of the document...

This theory also argues that if animals are treated kindly it is not for the benefit of the animal but the human being. The problem with this theory is that it does not suppose that logical human beings would have an obligation to treat animals kindly. This would be the case because logical human beings understand that animals are helpless and therefore need protection. This theory is also problematic because it does not thoroughly or succinctly explain the consequences to human being when other living things are not treated with some sort of respect or reverence. It does not consider the impact that the ill treatment of animals would ultimately have on the environment.
Animal Liberation
The theory of Animal liberation posits that non-human animals should be given the same consideration as humans as it relates to their right to live and be free of torment. Peter Singer is one of the major supporters of this theory. Singer asserted that suffering was suffering regardless of whom or what the recipient of the suffering was. Singer also asserted that
“The principle of equality (or equal consideration of interests) is the crux of Singer's argument. It holds that all sentient creatures (he draws the "line" at the phylogenetic level of oysters) have the same stake in their own existence ("interests"). Singer argued that this principle leads to the conclusion that there is no basis for elevating the interests of one species, Homo sapiens, above any other. Differences in intelligence, race, and gender are not valid criteria to exploit other humans; to Singer, a creature's species is equally irrelevant. He claimed that "From an ethical point of view, we all stand on an equal footing -- whether we stand on two feet, or four, or none at all" ( Singer, 1985 , p.6; Herzog, 1990)

With these things being understood equal weight must be given to the suffering of any living thing (Callicot). According to Callicot those that practice this theory are usually vegetarians and are usually extremely adamant concerning their position.
Animal liberation is problematic because it makes no distinction between the needs of most non-human animals and human beings. However the primary theorist responsible for cultivating this philosophy does concede that the phylogenetic level of oysters are not to be considered. This view is logical at some external level, but when one truly evaluates this theory it becomes too broad and does not seem to recognize the importance of deferring to human logic as it relates to the ethical treatment of living beings. It also seems to ignore the fact that non-human animals do not have the logic to consider how human beings are being treated. As such if humans allow them to wild animals could perceive human beings as weak and began treating human beings as nothing more than prey.
Biocentric Egalitarianism
Biocentric Egalitarianism also known as reverence for life, asserts that all living things are sacred and of...

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