Unformatted text preview: Animal Welfare
Utilitarianism in Action Peter Singer, Peter “All Animals Are Equal”
Main Arguments The Principle of Equality
Singer argues that we should grant equal CONSIDERATION, not equal TREATMENT CONSIDERATION not to animals. to Why does he say that equal Why treatment is absurd? treatment Equal Consideration
All human beings deserve equal moral consideration; but equal consideration may lead to different treatment and different rights! to EXAMPLE: Men and women have equal Men consideration under the law, but it would be absurd to suggest that they should have ALL THE SAME rights. It would be silly, for instance, to say men have a legal right to a safe abortion. to What is racism?
And why is it bad? What is ‘speciesism’? What
And how is it different than racism? 1 1. 2. 3. If we say animals’ llimited capacities give us imited justification for treating them in any way we please, we must accept that the limited capacities of infants and mentally deficient adults give us similar justification. adults We do not think we can treat infants and the We mentally handicapped in any way we please. mentally Therefore, we should not think we can treat Therefore, animals in any way we please just because of their limited capacities. their 1. 2. 3. 3. 4. If we do not condone the physical suffering of If the handicapped and human infants on the basis of their limited capacities, but we DO condone the suffering of animals on that basis, we are drawing a moral boundary at the level of the species. of Drawing a moral boundary at the species level Drawing is no different than drawing one at the level of race or sex. We typically reject moral boundaries drawn at We the level of race and sex. the Therefore, we should reject the attempt to Therefore, draw one at the level of species. Where should the boundary be drawn? boundary WHY is that the only defensible WHY boundary of moral consideration? boundary
Because drawing the line anywhere else Because will inevitably exclude from consideration the interests of some human beings: human beings: blacks, whites, women, the elderly, the infirm…. infirm SENTIENCE
“It may one day come to be recognised that the It recognised that number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or villosity of the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons os are equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. … The question is not, The Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can talk but, they suffer?” they
- Jeremy Bentham Why should we believe animals suffer? Why
… But drawing the line at sentience will But not leave out anyone who is capable of having interests— having IT IS A NECESSARY AND A SUFFICIENT IT NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT CONDITION FOR HAVING CONDITION INTERESTS AT ALL! Animals have a sufficiently similar neurophysiology to ours; they have all the physiological “parts” requisite for requisite feeling pain. feeling Animals behave in ways that indicate they feel pain in situations that would cause pain in us. pain By analogy, then, it is more reasonable to believe they DO suffer than to be skeptical that they don’t. that 2 If you care about the environment... So you don’t especially care especially about animals ... ? about
Why should you nevertheless Why oppose “factory farming”? ...it’s worth knowing that manure from ...it worth high-iintensity feed lots fouls the water, high ntensity contributes to the destruction of wetlands (exacerbating the force of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina), and contains high levels of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals. hormones If you care about people...
...you should be aware that the slaughterhouse industry is a major employer of undocumented workers, who because they are undocumented, need not be offered benefits like compensation for injuries. ...you should know that a greater number of ...you greater people could be fed using the same land and water resources, if they were used for grains and not meats. and If you care about your health...
...you should examine the FDA’s allowances for ...you allowances bone, hair, fecal matter and insect material per pound of, e.g., USDA graded meats. pound ...you should know that among the high costs of cheap meat is a rise in public health spending on diseases like diabetes and heart disease. ...you should be aware that diseases like “mad mad cow” disease and E. coli bacterial infections are cow disease the direct result of our farming practices. direct result 3 ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2011 for the course PHIL 2010 taught by Professor Snyder during the Fall '06 term at Georgia State.
- Fall '06