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Peter Singer All Animals Are Equal Summary

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Speciesism is a prejudice for or against a certain species. It is the belief that all and only human beings have moral status. Peter Singer, in “All Animals are Equal”, points out that people are contradicting themselves when they make the argument that non-human animals do not deserve the same rights as humans just because animals do not have the same intellectual abilities as us. Singer points out that humans come with different moral capacities and intellectual abilities, such as humans with irreparable brain damage and infant humans, so if people were to argue that animals don’t deserve the same equality as humans because they are basing it on actual equality, then humans who lack certain abilities and characteristics would also not deserve the same equality.
Peter Singer is a utilitarian, so his belief is that humans should do what maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. He believes that eating meat is speciesist because it sacrifices the major interests of non-human animals (to not die) for the minor interests of humans (to enjoy the taste of meat). Singer claims that any being that has the capacity for suffering should be given the right to equal consideration, and so people should stop eating meat because animals have an interest in avoiding suffering. He claims that we should avoid killing animals for food except when it is necessary for survival.
Mary Midgley argues for compassion, not interests or rights, because compassion is less abstract than equality.
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