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Morality of Animal Rights

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Meghan Cobern

on 29 July 2013

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Transcript of Morality of Animal Rights

The term is frequently used as a synonym for moral status. When humans say that animals have rights, it only means that they deserve some degree of direct moral considerations.
Traditional Notion:
nonhuman animals are to be used for...
What is an animal?
A living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly...
Peter Singer
He stated that something is very wrong with the traditional attitude toward animals.
Peter declared in his book, "tyranny of human over non human animals has caused and is still causing an amount of pain and suffering that can only be compared to the tyranny of white humans over black humans."
He is a leading scholar in Bioethics and the world's foremost advocate of utilitarianism.
utilitarianism holds that the morally best action is that which brings about the greatest amount of pleasure or happiness to the greatest amount of people.
Philosopher who wrote the book Animal Liberation in 1975 which assisted in the start of the animal rights movement

Philosopher and Theologian
"for by divine providence they are intended for man's use in the natural order. Hence it is no wrong for man to make use of them, either by killing them or in any other way whatever."
However, Aquinas stated that we should avoid being cruel to animals because cruelty to animals might lead to cruelty to humans.
Other people in the world believe animals are treated horrendously on a vast scale
Can animals suffer the same way humans can?
Mahatma Ghandi
What do we know about animals and philosophy that will help us decide if animals should have moral rights?
Direct Moral Consideration:
a being is worthy of moral concern for its own sake, not because of its relationship to others.
Science suggests that animals can have experiences such as pain and pleasure. It is also found that they have emotions such as fear and anger
Many animals are considered to be sentient..meaning they have sense perception and consciousness.
A universal thought is that inflicting unnecessary pain to animals is wrong.
There is some agreement between philosophers that sentient animals do deserve some moral respect or concern.
Ethics of care
Indirect Moral Consideration:
a being is granted respect or concern because of its relationship to other individuals.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Mahatma Gandhi
The following video clip is from a documentary on veganism, called Veducated. I watched the full documentary a while back, and I wanted to share some video on factory farming. Please keep in mind that the video extremely disturbing to me, and I am guessing it is to others as well. Please keep in mind that most of the produce you buy supports these processes.
There are
3 main ethical views in regards to animal rights.
These can also be found in Chapter 14: Environmental Ethics of our text, Doing Ethics.
Basically, this ethical view believes that only humans have moral standing, because we humans have a soul and animals do not have a soul.
Human beings are at the top of the food chain.
Humans have a conscious and self conscious
humans can plan ahead
This ethical view believes that animals and human beings should have the same moral standing.
Both humans and animals feel emotions and pain
There is a shared level of conscious because we are all living things.
This ethical view believes that all living things deserve moral standing whether they are sentient or not
Life centered ethics
Extreme because this includes plants, animals, and humans.
Biocentric universe asserts the value of non-human life in nature.
My personal thoughts:
we all should be nonviolent, show compassion, and not cause suffering. Do not kill unless we have to in self defense.

Meghan Cobern
Learning Activity -
Match terms from presentation

Traditional notion
Peter Singer
Universalist thought
Direct moral consideration
Indirect moral consideration

1-philosopher who wrote the book Animal Liberation, and assisted in the start of the animal rights movement
2- being cruel to animals might lead to cruelty of humans
3- all living things deserve moral standing whether they are sentient or not
4-only humans have moral standing because humans have a soul and animals do not
5- sense of perception and consciousness
6-inflicting unnecessary pain to animals is wrong
7- being granted respect or concern because if its relationship to other individuals
8- animals and human beings deserve the same moral standing because we both feel emotion and pain
9-Animals are for food, fuel, and fun.
10-being worthy of moral concern for its own sake not because of its relationship to others

Discussion Question 1:
What moral rights do you believe animals should have?
Discussion Question 2:
What moral theory and philosophy on animal rights do you agree with most and why?

Please click on Play to view the video.
Please click on play to view the video from Veducated.
Full transcript