Animal rights movement, Tom Regan, Peter Singer, utilitarianism, moral rights, exploitation of animals
The animal rights movement is often oversimplified and mocked by many in contemporary society, and this is often a result of an unwillingness to look at the facts and the various philosophies that make up the movement. An individual caught up in the ideas of the day is often unable to think outside of this realm, and many important ideas, such as the inherent rights of animals to be free of harm from humans, do not appear to make any sense. A careful analysis of two philosophers, Tom Regan and Peter Singer, allows us to better understand the philosophy that underlies the animal rights movement and justifies the passions and anger that many activists feel over the needless killing and torturing of animals.
[...] He explains that our desire to satisfy our own taste buds is no reason to kill an animal, when we can just as easily satisfy our need for protein and other essential nutrients far more efficiently with a diet that replaced animal flesh by soy beans, or products derived from soy beans, and other high- protein vegetable products” (Singer 191). To force an animal to die on account of our palate and taste is inherently immoral, inconsiderate, and it cannot be justified in any way. Singer argues that the same theory can be applied to animals and their use in experiments that suit human purposes. If an experimenter sees something wrong with using an infant in a dangerous experiment, then by default, he should be able to see the same problem arise when that experiment is performed on non-humans. [...]
[...] In his defense of animal rights, Peter Singer reaches a similar conclusion by way of a very different approach. Singer basis his philosophy less on the moral rights of animals, and he focuses much more on their suffering and the fact that essentially, animals and humans should be viewed with equality. With regard to suffering, Singer argues that because an animal suffers, killing or torturing that animal is wrong. If the suffering did not occur, the question may be answered differently. [...]
[...] An animal is a creature with sensitivities, feelings, emotions, and the ability to experience. To torture, isolate, destroy, or to hunt for such a creature is just as evil and just as morally wrong as treating a human in such a harsh and callous way. Singer challenges current views on philosophy by criticizing the way in which equality and morality is discussed. Singer finds it unfortunate that all modern-day discussion of equality involves humans acting upon other humans, and it takes animals completely out of the picture. [...]
[...] Supporting the animal rights movement on the basis of Regan's argument would be a mistake, and it would be more likely to result in mockery by the general public. Singer's ideas—that animals should not be made to suffer and that they deserve equal rights—appears much more acceptable and therefore more practical. So, while Regan's ideas appear to be more solid and easier to apply, the philosophy of Singer is much more likely to yield results. If the ultimate goal of the animal rights movement is to successfully stop the exploitation of animals via meat eating, hunting, and sporting, supporting the movement on the basis of Singer's philosophy is much more likely to achieve the desired effect. [...]
[...] In his approach to prove that eating, killing, and using animals for experimental purposes is wrong, Tom Regan uses a philosophy that he claims is free of emotion and based on reason. To make decisions on emotions, according to Regan, is an ineffective and is an approach that cannot and will not endure in the future. An approach that incorporates reason, on the other hand, is much more likely to yield results and convince skeptics with regard to the truth of a certain philosophy. [...]
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