Steven Wise cites evidence that Animals are indeed autonomous in at least some cases. He includes and example of a gorilla who displays more cognitive skill than a two year old human. Now it is illegal to burn someone for witchcraft, and the mute have the same rights as anyone else.
Wise infers that if not all humans can be granted rights, that rights should not be granted to only humans, but to a more broad audience based on a new criteria. Wise feels that animals are as autonomous as humans, and should be granted the rights of such a being. Wise seems to be motivated by compassion, and a righteous anger toward the mistreatment of animals.
He wants people to see them as more than just tools, toys, or food. He seems to imply that animals are conscious and autonomous. He believes our new era of scientific understanding should facilitate a different legal perspective on animals. If we gave animals human rights, it seems we would no longer be able eat them. Animal research is also leading us to new new medical understandings that are crucial.
At what cost do we stop all animal research? Even if that were not the case, would killing an animal count as murder? However, to say that a human can not hunt for food is to take away a crucial aspect of our development as humans.
This is how we survive. But if we look at many Native American practices, we will find that they respect and honor the spirit of each animal. I feel this is appropriate. I also feel it is inappropriate to stuff animals into a warehouse to live. This is fueled by greed. But we can not stop every injustice, and we must eat.
Human beings are ultimately fragile. They must eat and drink water each day. Giving animals human rights in unpractical. However we should, and do in many cases, treat animals fairly and with respect. It almost feels as if Stephen Wise forgot that we DO indeed have laws in many countries that protect animals.
We have enforcement agents all over the country that protect our animalss. The inability to feel compassion for animals I believe is an inadequacy in the empathy department, but we also can not obsess over our anguish for animals.
In the wild there is cruelty all day, and every day. McGraw Hill, , p. We either accept some consideration—like rationality or intelligence—as the criterion for rights and accept that infants and the severely retarded might be treated as we treat monkeys or pigs, or we accept that rights are not limited to humans and that rights-holders will include, at least, some animals.
One may be willing to bite the bullet on the treatment of marginal humans and accept that they can be treated as we treat non-human animals. However, most people are not willing to say that and will likely see such a conclusion as a sign that something is wrong in the theory of rights being presented.
If the theory allows for infanticide or something similar, it seems wiser to reject or revise the theory of rights than to accept this outcome. In short, the purpose of the argument regarding the position of marginal humans is to show that traditional theories of rights fail to establish that all humans, including marginal and borderline cases, have rights.
This, then, makes room for the new theories presented by Regan and Singer—and these new theories will include rights and protections for at least some animals.
Regan starts with the claim that each person, as an individual, has some distinctive and unique value, which he calls "inherent value. Regan's "inherent value" is not something earned—that is, one cannot lose or gain the value by his actions—nor is the value instrumental. A person's inherent value does not exist because he is cute and cuddly or because he writes wonderful sonnets—he just has the value. Lastly, inherent value is equal among all who have it.
One cannot have more inherent value than another; William Shakespeare and Osama bin Laden would have the same inherent value. Regan's justification for inherent value rests on the assumption that this kind of value is the best way to explain our "reflective intuitions" regarding harm to other humans, including the marginal cases Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights, Berkeley: University of California Press, , p. We believe it is wrong to enslave humans or to treat babies as food sources, and Regan argues that "inherent value" is the best explanation for these beliefs.
Thus, inherent value is essentially an idea that is required in order to explain why we have certain other beliefs. This is similar to the way an astronomer might justify the claim that a planet is circling a faraway star. The astronomer might not be able to detect the planet directly, but he can rationally postulate it because such a mass is required to explain certain other known features about the star and the star system.
Inherent value, Regan argues, is similarly required to explain our considered moral beliefs. So, like paradigmatic humans, marginal humans have inherent value and thus rights. In addition, Regan claims, there is no rational basis for denying that some animals also have inherent value, and thus no basis for denying that animals have rights. How do we know whether or not something has inherent value? Regan does not offer straightforward conditions that would need to be met to show inherent value.
But he does offer one condition that demonstrates inherent value exists in some beings. He calls it "being a subject-of-a-life. What does it mean to be a subject-of-a-life? First, one is an organism such that events make a real difference to oneself as an individual.
Secondly, one is an organism such that continuing to live matters to oneself. Thirdly, one is an organism for whom what happens in life has some meaning for oneself. According to Regan, in order to be a subject-of-a-life, one needs among other things the ability to take action; a memory; a sense of the future; an awareness of one's individual welfare, desires, and goals; and the capability of feeling pleasure and pain.
These are the sorts of characteristics that ensure things will matter to an individual and make a difference to that individual. Regan claims that being a subject-of-a-life means one has inherent value. However, a creature might not be a subject-of-a-life and still have inherent value.
He claims that the permanently comatose are not subjects-of-a-life, but that they do have inherent value. Regan even ponders at one point whether natural objects like trees can have inherent value even though they clearly are not subjects-of-a-life.
So, the subject-of-a-life condition is not an explanation or definition of inherent value, only a useful tool to spot inherent value in some cases. Regan's assumption is that most humans, marginal and otherwise, are subjects-of-a-life.
Furthermore, he argues that most higher-order animals are as well and that, as subjects-of-a-life, they also have inherent value. In sum, Regan's argument is that individuals, human or not, that have inherent value are entitled to treatment that respects this inherent value and does not harm that individual. His case for rights—animal or human--therefore, rests on this idea of inherent value.
To anyone who has spent time at a zoo or had pets, it should not be a stretch to accept that higher-order animals—apes, dogs, cats, and so forth—experience pain and pleasure, have desires and goals, initiate actions to meet their needs and desires, have some sense of their own personal future, and even experience, in some sense, life as good or ill for themselves.
Furthermore, it does not strike me that attributing these capacities to them is wild speculation or anthropomorphism. Regan is right that some higher-order mammals possess these capacities.
In fact, this is probably one of the things that makes such creatures compelling as pets; it may even provide a moral basis for treating animals with a certain amount of sensitivity and care. Nonetheless, this does not show that such creatures have inherent value, nor does it ground a case for animals' possessing rights. This is primarily because inherent value is an invalid concept. It has no basis in reality—it is arbitrary and inconsistent with a proper understanding of value.
As Ayn Rand argued, value depends on the existence of a being that faces the alternative of continued existence or the end of existence—and a being that must act to continue in existence. Values, then, are those things that are required for the being's continued life. Therefore, a value is always a value for some reason it is required for life and to some organism the being acting in the face of the alternative of life or death.
Moral values are the values pursued by an organism with the capacity to choose and reason. Volitional rationality gives rise to the need for a system to guide choices and actions.
Without choice, there is no point to giving guidance; and without reason, we can't formulate and act on the principles that morality provides. Humans are the only organisms that are capable of volitional rationality and, as such, are the only organisms capable of morality. And while animals certainly face the alternative of life or death and thus pursue value, they do not react to this alternative by choosing what actions to take and what values to pursue to maintain their lives.
They do not and cannot pursue moral values. Inherent value, by contrast, is not valued for any reason and does not require an organism's action or choice in pursuit of values. Regan's account of inherent value makes this abundantly clear. It matters not what a person does or who the person is—so long as he has this inherent value, he should be treated like any other person. It is in this way that inherent value divorces value from its conceptual roots and is thus invalid.
But even for one who does not accept Rand's account of values, inherent value should be troubling. Regan is concerned that theories that include marginal cases of human beings but exclude animals are doing so on an arbitrary basis. For instance, a theory might attempt to extend rights to marginal cases just because they are all members of Homo sapiens.
Regan, as well as Singer, argues that such a theory of rights is arbitrary because biological membership is morally irrelevant. Yet Regan's solution—inherent value—is itself arbitrary. We are not given any reason, other than our "reflected intuitions," to believe that paradigmatic humans or marginal humans or animals have inherent value.
Regan argues that we need inherent value to explain our moral beliefs about how to treat others, including animals. However, this claim is quite wrong since we can explain why we value treating others with respect and dignity, as well as seeing that needlessly mistreating animals is likely wrong, without appealing to the dubious notion of inherent value. For a treatment of why treating others well is a value, see David Kelley, Unrugged Individualism: The Objectivist Center, Kelley doesn't mention treatment of animals, but needlessly mistreating an animal usually indicates a depravity that is inconsistent with the kinds of values and virtues needed for life.
Singer places the principle of equality or equal consideration at the center of his moral view. Each person, in his view, is entitled to equal consideration and respect. Utilitarianism is then seen as the best moral theory to satisfy this principle of equality.
According to Singer, an individual's capacity to suffer is sufficient for that individual, human or animal, to be entitled to equal consideration. Singer quotes the famous English utilitarian Jeremy Bentham: Nor can they talk?
But, can they suffer? What is important is whether or not a creature can suffer. If it can suffer, then its suffering has to be considered in the utilitarian calculation of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. The creature's capacity for pleasure is also relevant, but more often than not the focus is on suffering because this is the perceived injustice that is calling for rectification. Moreover, any creature capable of feeling pain and pleasure needs to be given consideration when determining what actions are best.
The capacity for suffering and enjoyment is the morally relevant factor here, according to Singer, because it is this capacity that is at the base of having any interests at all. In this view, not wanting to be hurt is not just another interest that one has along with interests in being fed or having shelter. It is the basis of the other interests one has. The interest in being fed is based on the pain one experiences from starving.
The interest in having shelter is based on the pain one would experience when exposed to the elements. Without the ability to feel pain and pleasure, there can be no interests, period. A rock has no interest in not being kicked or any other interests precisely because it has no capacity to feel the pain of being kicked or anything else.
My niece, on the other hand, is capable of feeling the pain and thus has an interest in not being kicked, among other interests. Most people respond to Singer's argument in something like the following way: There is a difference between human suffering and animal suffering. Human suffering is morally relevant precisely because it is human suffering. But like Regan, Singer argues this is arbitrary and merely shows a bias towards humans.
Both refer to this bias as speciesism. Speciesism , as defined by Singer, is a "prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one's own species and against those of members of other species" Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, , p. Think of "sexism" or "racism," but instead of sex or race, substitute species. And insofar as sexism and racism are wrong because they go against the principle of equal consideration, speciesism is wrong too, according to Regan and Singer.
Thus, it cannot be used to exclude animal suffering from consideration. Singer's argument is that, with the principle of equality and the shared capacity for pleasure and pain, humans and non-human animals should have their interests weighted equally when doing the moral calculus of right and wrong.
By including the interests of non-human animals in the utilitarian calculus, Singer argues, we will find that the rules and principles that demarcate the proper legal protections of humans will apply similarly to sentient animals.
In many ways, these arguments are easy to dismiss. Regan's "inherent value" is an arbitrary and invalid concept and thus fails to ground rights. Singer's argument is based on utilitarianism, a moral theory notorious for its inadequacies at providing moral guidance and for its anti-individual biases.
If one rejects utilitarianism—as one should—then Singer's argument never gains any traction. This is a big part of why one should reject Regan's and Singer's arguments. But, while their arguments should be rejected, there are two issues raised by animal-rights arguments that still need to be dealt with.
First is the moral significance of various and complex animal capacities. If animals are sentient or have an awareness that is even more complex than sentience, is that a basis for animal rights? Secondly, we still face the marginal-humans argument.
Animals rights have attracted much debate with some individuals for it and others against it. Animals have inherent worth; they are worthy in their nature and form. Humans must know that animals did not come into being to serve or provide for them.
Animal Rights Essay This IELTS animal rights essay discusses the exploitation of animals by humans. People who believe in animal rights think that they should not be treated cruelly, for example in experiments or for sport.
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