Ethical Analysis of News Issue: Animal Rights
Clearly define the ethical issue and provide a brief explanation as to why it is important. (4 marks)
To many people, the concept of animal rights is absurd and long drawn. However, animal activism has increased in the recent past with formation of such organizations as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) that seek to incorporate ethics when addressing issues related to animals (Joyce 2014, par. 1). Apparently, animal rights activists argue that animals too have rights as is with human beings. Their arguments are anchored in the premise that there should ethical rules that guide our treatment of animals. This implies ...view middle of the document...
This is recognition of the fact that livestock industry is thriving and constitutes substantial percentage of the national income. As such, animal rights ethics do not only elicit philosophical and ethical issues but also touches on the economy.
Identify facts which are relevant to your analysis of the ethical issue. (5 marks)
Many perspectives have come up especially in regard to the issue of animal rights. In an article relayed on The Canberra Times, De Brito (2014, par. 1) argues that human beings are behaving like ‘Nazis’ especially regarding the plight and ethics towards animals. In other words, he says that human beings have the moral duty not only to protect animal lives but also to alleviate their suffering and mistreatment. He emphasizes the importance of legislators and policy makers to make illegal all actions that may lead to sufferance of animals whatever intentions there may be (De Brito 2014, par. 2). To him, animals have feelings and equally they experience pleasure. As such, human beings should stop treating animals as property and using them as food or for other purposes such as work and research regardless of the good intentions they may purport to have (Bekoff 2009, p. 13). Nonetheless, his arguments have received equal criticism from various sectors including livestock industry. Should human beings be ‘humane’ and the ethical when rearing, slaughtering and using animals?
Some facts are apparent in regard to the issues of animal rights. At the outset, it is agreeable that animals just like humans have the right to this earth. However, human occupy the highest position in the natural order for the virtue of the fact that they can reason (Bekoff 2009, p. 72). Being in control of earth due to the capacity to reason therefore gives human beings the authority to use all earth’s resources for advancement and utility of humanity. With this in mind, it is clear that majority of the issues raised by animal rights activists are yet to convince majority of the population. This leads to the question, ‘to what extent do human beings have duty and responsibility for other animals?’
Moreover, it is important to question the authority of animal ethics arguments given the fact that majority of animals reared by human beings are for food. In fact, over 75% of world’s population consumes meat, others wear leather shoes while others use animals for work or for gaming purposes (Cohen 2001, p. 45). This implies that while there is a legitimate concern about the rights possessed by animals, many societies are yet to embrace that basic fact. Besides, animal rights advocacy has been marred with controversy. In fact, Minister of Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, argues that animal rights groups such as PETA have little if any concern of the animals (Joyce 2014, par. 1). To him, the group’s advocacy does not advance a case for animals but seeks to demonize wool industry by arguing that citizens should not wear woolen clothes. As...