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"Animals Have No Say". This Essay Is About Animal Rights

3813 words - 16 pages

ANIMALS HAVE NO SAYIt was the winter of 1998, when my grandfather had found a tiny three-legged dark chocolate cat wandering around his house. It had been left out in the cold with no food or shelter. He brought it to my house to see if I wanted it. At my first glance at the cat I did not like it because it only had three legs and I felt sorry for it. After keeping this cat for a few weeks, and Christmas coming quickly, my mother and I decided to find who the cat's owners were and give her back as a Christmas present. We knew one of the vets in town would know because he/she had amputated her leg. When we finally found out which vet had amputated her leg, they would not give us the name of ...view middle of the document...

Many Christian philosophers argued that humans had no moral duties of any kind to animals, even the duty not to treat them cruelly, because they lacked rationality or because they were not, like man, made in the image of God. This view prevailed until the late 18th century, when ethical philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham applied the principles of utilitarianism ("Animal Rights", Britannica Encyclopedia).Tom Regan states the principles of utilitarianism are two principles from the Utilitarian Account regarding on how animals ought to be treated. The first principle is a principle of equality that declares that the desires, needs, and hopes of different individuals are of equal importance or value no matter who the individuals are. The second principle is that of utility, meaning we are to act so as bringing about the greatest possible balance of good over evil (86). "Since animals have interests, their interests must be taken into account, and because their interests are frequently as important to them as comparable interests are to human beings, their interests must be given the same weight as comparable human interests" (Regan 86). These principles of utilitarianism were applied to infer a moral duty not to inflict needless suffering on animals. "In the final half of the 20th century, another ethical philosopher Peter Singer and others attempted to show that a duty not to harm animals follows straightforwardly from simple and widely accepted moral principles..." "They also argued that there is no morally relevant difference between humans and animals that would justify raising animals, but not humans, for food on factory farms or using them in scientific experiments or for product testing." The modern animal-rights movement was inspired in part by Singer's work, which had initiated a large number of groups dedicated to a variety of related causes. Some of these causes include protecting endangered species, protesting against painful or brutal methods of trapping and killing animals, preventing the use of animals in laboratory research, and promoting what adherents considered the health benefits and moral virtues of vegetarianism ("Animal Rights", Britannica Encyclopedia).Respect is needed all over the world. Humans need respect and so do animals. "Whether animals have rights, specifically the right not to be harmed, now comes into clear focus. So whether you believe animals have rights or not, you still need to respect them and treat them the way you would want others to treat you. If they have this right, then it will be violated whenever animals are harmed and certain conditions are not satisfied. Moreover, the onus of justification is always on those who harm animals to explain how they are not violating the rights of animals not to be harmed, if animals have this right" (Regan 92). Cohen agrees if animals have any rights at all they have the right to be respected, the right not to be used as a tool to advance human matter...

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