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Speciesism: Are We Going Too Far?

1405 words - 6 pages

Speciesism: Are we going too far?

--The relationship between the rights of animals and peoples need to develop

Rui Pei


To most of us a boy is in no way equal to a rat, which, according to Conniff. R, is a good example of Speciesism or racism towards another species. As he mentions in Fuzzy-Wuzzy Thinking (Audubon Magazine, 1990, p126-133), “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” This depicts an image of equality in relation to man compared with the beast. In my opinion, speciesism is unacceptable as animals have rights and we should treat them with respect. But the total egalitarian approach in the aforementioned text has an issue. It does not take in account ...view middle of the document...

This ontological approach of life brings forward the egalitarian theory of justice for both humans and animals. Furthermore P.S. Elder combined Regan and Singer‘s thoughts that an animal is considered to have morals only when it can “weigh alternatives, freely choose among them and appreciate their attainment”(Legal Rights for Animals, 1984, p102). Elder’s logic led to the conclusion that no animals fit the criteria of morality, and “if they can feel pain, but cannot conceptualize, we can still kill them for food” (Legal Rights for nature, 1984, p102).

Fuzzy-Wuzzy Thinking is in accordance with Singer’s view. Unfortunately, the merit of Singer’s argument falls flat since we have no way of quantifying suffering. How can we measure pain, sorrow, and sensation? In fact, not all pain is conceivable by an external being because of the subjectivity of pain. According to Singer, a paralyzed person does not have rights, or has less rights, because he lost the ability to feel pain. Thus, contrary to what he is proposing in Animal Liberation, we do not need to all become vegetarians to uphold the rights of animals. Extrapolating from Singer’s text we can conclude it is in humanitarian bound to simply euthanize the animals mercifully so that they suffer the least. As for Regan’s argument, the problem is that since every life is equal, deductively we can see that we cannot kill plants as well as bacteria for that matter, since at a cellular level they exhibit the same characteristics all living organisms do. Following this strain of thought, how is life going to be supported? Biologically bigger organisms lacking the ability to photosynthesize thus need to kill and consume other living creatures. On the other hand, Elder’s argument seems to be based on the assumption that animals are not aware of the future and they are not aware that they died immorally when they are killed. These assumptions have fallacies in logic since they are too anthropocentric and lack valid evidences.

From my point of view, animal Speciesism and animal liberation are two extreme ideas, which cannot serve as the only guidelines for choices in respect to the treatment of animals. Suppose that these extreme views on animal rights become a moral standard that has to be abided by. This would mean no animals could be killed eliminating the very lively hood of many native cultures that cannot be supported through agricultural means such as the Inuit. The inability to do anything that might be constituted as cruel or harmful to animals, to some extent, would leave us passive without any initiative to move forward in fields such as medicine, chemical science and organic chemistry. If the current relationship between animals and human beings disappeared, the only addition would be that of the added moral responsibility needed to be shown toward animals. Thus, in the relationship between animals and human, our value, interest, principle and not to mention source of food and...

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