Essay#2 - Michael Guertin Writing 140 Maggie Flynn October...

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Michael Guertin Writing 140 Maggie Flynn October 4, 2007 Assignment #2 Animal Rights: Gaining Utilitarianism’s Approval British naturalist Charles Darwin once stated, "The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. Happiness is never better exhibited than by young animals, such as puppies, kittens, and lambs, when playing together, like our own children” (“The Descent of Man”). Traces of animal rights philosophy can be found as early as the 6 th century B.C. by Pythagoras, but the modern movement began in 1824 when the world’s first animal welfare organization, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was established. Similar animal advocacy groups emerged in Europe, then in North America, and now there is an organized global effort for animal rights. The sheer number of activists has increased substantially, and as a result, support for their causes is consistently growing. However, a clash exists between animal activists and several global industries, which have traditionally shown little respect or regard for animals through their violent mistreatment of them. There are a variety of perspectives, ranging from animals should be given equal consideration to animals are completely inferior to humans. Some philosophers believe that an animal’s feelings are definitely irrelevant when assessing humans’ decisions because of their inability to be rational. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, which is an ethical set of guidelines centered on utility and consequentialism that is used to determine the moral worth of an action, revolutionized the way we evaluate the relationship between animals and humans. Since animals suffer at the expense of a human’s pleasure, their happiness or lack thereof is relevant when considering the moral justification of certain animal treatments. Although animal
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testing is helpful for enhancing scientific research, we can virtually never justify using animals to serve human needs according to the underlying principles of Utilitarianism. Opponents of animal rights contend that biological research dependent on the use of animals has vastly improved our quality of life. Controlled experiments with animal-based research have helped uncover critical information about a variety of illnesses and diseases. Through the use of animal testing, biotechnology companies have been able to develop hundreds of drugs and vaccines that provide cures and treatments. Any cancer diagnosis might have previously been a virtual death sentence; but with the advent of animal-based research, scientists now have solutions to countless medical problems. Moreover, these medical breakthroughs have been able to prevent the suffering and deaths of millions of people worldwide. The animals used
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This essay was uploaded on 10/21/2007 for the course WRIT 140 taught by Professor Alvandi during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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Essay#2 - Michael Guertin Writing 140 Maggie Flynn October...

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