Protecting the Welfare of Nonhuman Animals

1606 WordsJun 20, 20187 Pages
‘Hominum causa omne ius constitutum: all law was established for man’s sake’. Endorsed by early Judaeo-Christian beliefs, holding that humans were created in God’s image having ‘dominion over all animals’. This statement remains true today, despite such assertions being undermined by scientific developments proving homo sapiens to simply be biological entities like any other organism. Such discoveries call into scrutiny the determination of rights on the basis of species and have lead to modern philosophers asserting the contention that animals should be included within the spectrum of rights. Regan, advocating a rights based approach, argues that rights should be afforded to all who possess consciousness, namely ‘mammals aged one year…show more content…
For Singer sentience provides the ability for an interest, and an ability to have an interest is sufficient grounds to claim that a being has an interest, and each interest should be considered equally. It is for this reason that Singer’s approach differs from Regan’s. Regan argued that humans and nonhuman animals are ‘subjects of a life’ and as a result of this, it is the ‘inherent value of animals that matters’. Advocating a ‘respect principle’ where rights are conferred to all who possess consciousness, namely ‘mammals aged one year or more’ on the basis that they have inherent value deserving of respect. Although similar to Kant, Regan argues that there is no way to differentiate between humans and nonhuman animals without resorting to speciesism and to do so violates the respect principle as it facilitates the trading of animal rights in certain circumstances. Both Singer and Regan reject Kantian assertions that humans are special as they can fulfil what he termed ‘categorical imperative’, which is to only do what can be universalised, arguing that rationality, autonomy and the ability for verbal communication is not a justification for the maltreatment of animals. To
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