Alya Al-NajiProfessor Dennis Writing Comp 1068 March 2018Should animals have equal rights as humans Peter Singer's article called "Animal Liberation" is an fascinating insight on how people should view humans in similarity to animals. The article discusses the cruelty of humans over animals. This article demonstrate Singer's utilitarian belief. For Singer, ethics should surround the quality of life regarding pain and pleasure rather than hypothetical situations dealing with duty.
Singer's argument catches the eyes of many readers and it is rather controversial in that he places a value on human life. Singer fails to relate any emotion towards his point of view. To Singer, emotion can be a misconception when considering which option is best for the greatest number of people. Singer's overall argument is compelling in that it is a theory that is too controversial for most authors to support. The argument that Singer holds is one which many people can relate to but at the same time it raises legitimate concerns. Singer's argument is as follows: Suffering is the basic condition of having morally important interests. If you cannot suffer, nothing matters morally to you. If lesser intelligence cannot be used to morally discriminate against humans, then at the same time it cannot be used to discriminate against animals.
Suffering draws the moral line between those worthy of equal moral consideration and those who are not. Animals as well as humans can suffer. If both animals and humans can suffer, then the principle of equal moral consideration applies to both humans and animals. Equality means that different creatures will get different rights.
What rights a creature gets depends on what interests that are worthwhile to protect for that creature. Life, therefore, is as worthwhile to animals as it is to severely disabled human beings. Life is more worthwhile for those creatures, human or not, who can plan and hope for the future. Thus, if we would not do something to a severely disabled person, we should not be able to do it to an animal that encompasses these traits. Singer touches on the principle of equal moral consideration as the main principle when considering the actions that affect all creatures. Singer does not claim that animal and human pain are measured equally or that human and animal interests are equal. Rather he describes that these two creatures feel pain and that they have interests and that they do not have to necessarily equal.
According to Singer, we may treat animals and humans different on the basis of their pain and suffering but never on the fact that we are humans or they are animals. To act because we can as humans is "specism" according to Singer and that discriminates only because we are humans and we are higher up on the food chain. Thus, animal experimentation and consumption is wrong except in a case in which we would be willing to perform the same acts on a human with similar capabilities. The main point of Singer's argument is the ability to feel pain and suffer. It could be argued that we cannot judge if other species can feel pain.
How do we really know if creatures actually feel pain, whether they are human or not? We know that as individuals we can feel pain and suffer. We know that if we accidentally cut our finger, that it will hurt because we have all experienced it. All we can do is assume other humans feel pain the same way in which we as individuals feel pain.
We cannot directly feel another creature's pain if in fact they do feel pain. One of his statement is the most controversial aspect of the argument. Testing on animals rather than some humans according to Singer is discrimination. To be able to suffer and enjoy life is what warrants a being to have interests. Most of us as sentient humans have both of these qualities. What about those humans who do not know what suffering is? What about those animals that we test on that do know what pain and pleasure are? There are certain animals that know how to plan for the future.
Singer points out that beings that do not have interests should have no rights if the rights of being with interests are being violated. To Singer, newborn babies with defects cannot hope and plan for the future. Singer argues that care should not be given to babies who have severe disabilities when they could further research more effectively than certain animals who have an interest in living. Singer points out that certain disabled adults, such as people with severe handicaps should be considered a "non person".
These "non persons" are living a life not worth living, according to Singer, because they cannot plan and hope for the future and thus, have no interest in living. The argument here is that if these humans were used instead of other sentient beings to test medical treatments that the greater good of the greater amount of people would be served. Part of what Singer is failing to realize is the type of society would we live in if testing on humans would be allowed? What would the overall consequence be if we were legally able to degrade human life due to the state and ability to plan and hope for the future? Abortion would be suitable in some case because humans at that stage cannot plan for the future. It is likely that Singer would argue that birth is morally unimportant because newborns as well as the fetus cannot regard itself as a being with a life to live. People who oppose Singer's claim would wonder how the parents would react. It is argued that to mother/father a child is beneficial and rewarding in many ways whether or not the child has a small or large defect. How can we decide which constitutes a small and large defect? Who chooses? Would it be the doctors or the parents who make the decisions? Who sets the guidelines for the decisions, some appointed senator who has no family? Emotions are a part of what we humans are.
For the most part, Singer touches on some areas of ethics that are important to the structure of society. The question at hand is whether or not we should disregard the interests of sentient animals because as humans we can. On the whole, an agreement could be reached in that we need not test on animals just because they are animals. On the other hand, the majority of people want to find a cure for cancer and other illnesses as quick as possible. With that in mind, would it not be better to test on humans than animals because the drugs would be used on humans rather than animals? No one species other than humans can best replicate the DNA and biological structure of a human than a human. The question remains then, how do we choose how to pick a human for testing? Could we perhaps sign a waiver such as an organ donor card to allow for this to take place? What about those individuals who cannot express their view points? Perhaps these individuals can comprehend what is happening to them but they cannot express their thoughts in a language that we can understand.
Would it be ethical for us as "normal" people to disregard them because they cannot express their thoughts? Singer enables us to think about the issue of equality between animals and humans in a way that was never thought of before. Singer's argument is compelling for those reasons but there are some areas that pose problems for other people. Emotions guide us as humans in every action we chose to carry out. The fact that emotions are good or bad is irrelevant because as humans it is part of who we are. Without emotions, one cannot acknowledge how the world would function? Allot of what Singer argues is controversial in that he can counter argue a claim from one who opposes his way of thinking.
Singer's argument catches the eyes of many readers and it is rather controversial in that he places a value on human life. Singer fails to relate any emotion towards his point of view. Singer relates that the principle of equal moral consideration is the main principle when considering the actions that affect all creatures. This is not to say that we should treat all beings alike, rather we should think of them equally.
Human life is no more important that my dogs life according the Singer. This theory, though well backed up, creates fear in most people's eyes.