A Criticism of Tom Regan's Argument

794 Words3 Pages
Zoos Morally Defensible? A Criticism of Tom Regan's Argument

In his essay "Are Zoos Morally Defensible?" Tom Regan uses utilitarian and rights approaches to argue that zoos are not morally defensible. However, the answer he reaches is a default answer. His actual argument is that it is impossible to acquire all of the information that one would need to answer the question of whether zoos are morally defensible, which leads him to the conclusion that they are not defensible. He reaches this conclusion by focusing on the notion that animals have certain rights and that anything that abrogates those rights, as confinement in a zoo necessarily does, must be justifiable for some compelling reason. Because he does not think it is possible to know, much less to compare, the pros and cons of placing animals in a zoo, he does not reach the conclusion that zoos are morally indefensible, even though that appears to be his "gut feeling," but instead comes to the conclusion that there is not an ethical theory that explains why zoos are morally defensible. To Regan the answer to the question of whether zoos are morally defensible seems to be an issue of whether moral anthropocentrism is, itself, a defensible position. Moral anthropocentrism suggests that human beings are the center of the moral universe with rights that are more significant than the rights of non-human animals. Under this basic point of view, human beings have dominion over animals and animals are here to serve

More about A Criticism of Tom Regan's Argument

Open Document