Treatment of Non-Human Animals

2104 WordsJun 19, 20189 Pages
I will argue that Utilitarianism is a reasonable ethical theory to demonstrate we have a duty to accord moral consideration to sentient beings equally, in this case non-human animals. I will illustrate under Utilitarian criteria, that non-human animals are indeed sentient and that it is enough to count for moral standing. I will defend my argument in examples of practices commonly used in treating animals a resource, such as for food and in laboratory experiments. This will prove that any action that fails to treat animals as a being with moral standing violates an animal’s right, and therefore is morally impermissible. I will begin by showing why Utilitarian Theory justifies my claim in providing a strong argument for non-human animals.…show more content…
Now at this point, I should consider what beings are sentient. According to Peter Singer, it’s all and only vertebrate animals who are sentient. It is useless to think oysters or rocks or trees have a sufficient amount of consciousness directed toward our utilitarian calculations. So, humans and most non-human animals (who we have proved to have interests) are to be taken into account. Well, some might question whose sentience matters. It is argued non-human animals’ interests are not as intense as our own. Because we are self conscious and have the ability to anticipate and remember our pain with greater fidelity than animals, it is possible a human’s pain has greater weight than an animal’s. But, on the other hand, our rationality allows us to distance ourselves from pain and give it purpose, like a flu shot for example, for animals cannot do so. I will conclude this thought by saying in most cases involving animals, human interests aren’t at stake, so the right course of action is easy to judge. In this next section, I will demonstrate how a non-humans’ sentience counts as having moral consideration. First, let’s look at the requirements for moral consideration. Beyond sentience, moral consideration is argued to extend to rationality, intelligence or language. I will explain how those views could be altered. Why is an animal’s lack of human levels of rationality and intelligence allow us to ignore their pain and suffering? If
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