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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL 10 Critical Analysis of “All Animals Are Equal” Liberation movements based on Singer’s argument call for an expansion in the moral horizon of humans as well as an expansion or redefinition of the moral principle of equality. Human actions that have been considered right and natural to humans have been associated with prejudice that is not justified. This argument can be expounded by answering the question “Who has the confidence to stand out and state that his or her practices and attitudes are not lined with some form of criticism?’ If anyone or the entire human population wants to be listed against oppressors then there is a need to get prepared and have a second look at our fundamental attributes. The attributes need to be reconsidered from a point of view of the oppressed or rather the most disadvantaged by the practices and attitudes. The attitudes have to be perceived as unaccustomed to discover the patterns developed to the advantage of one and the disadvantage of the other. My main point is to advocate that make a mental switch on the attitudes as well as practices and do away with the view of custom n order to understand how they affect other members of the species rather than our won, species which are commonly referred to as animals. In simple terms, the basic principle of equality that is recognized by humans needs to be extended to every member of the species. According to Singer’s argument, he demands ethical consideration of animals which he considers as oppressed by the human population because of denial of equal rights. He says “most of our unreflected upon beliefs, attitudes, and practices can themselves be oppressive.” There are ways in which our beliefs and practices differ in form animals as a result of natural and ‘inevitable’ or ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’ human beliefs. This point of view narrows down to the nature of humankind and the value it has. However, this raises the question of “what if the beliefs that influence the view of humans as different from animals is false? What if the belief that human interests that are believed to come first than those of animals are false? According to Singer, the actions taken by humans against animals such a caging or rather factory farming and experimentation are oppressive to the animals. He states that it is necessary to consider the interests of animals, the same way we consider the interests of humans when taking action. Despite Singer advocating that animals be treated as moral equals in the decision-making process of humans, he provided possible claims that may be raised against is the point of view. First, he points out that equality does not necessarily mean the same rights because they are not applicable in all cases but emphasize the equality of consideration. He expounds on this by saying that equal rights on animals as humans are illogical because humans have the right to vote while animals do not. Therefore, it is “nonsense” to talk about granting animals the same rights as humans. The main point that Singer tried to bring out form this point is that, humans and animals have differences that morally separate the two and thus there is might be no sense in some instances to treat each other equally. Thus, it is sensible to say that animals and humans should be treated differently. He however recounts his point saying that despite the differences between humans and animals that do not make sense to get them identical rights, it does not mean that they should not be treated equally morally. Singer claims that regardless of gender or sex, human beings have equal moral values. However, different rights are granted based on gender because of the differences that exist. For instance, Singer uses the example of abortion to clarify the claim. It is sensible to grant a woman or a person with the uterus a right to abortion but insensible to do the same to a person without a uterus which means there are no chances of getting pregnant. The fact that the right to abortion is granted to a specific gender and not granted to the other does not mean they are treated as of different moral values. It does not either mean that they are not morally equal but the point is to make clear practical differences that are based on facts. The objection claim to the earlier claim does not lean on rights granted to an individual but instead focuses on whether we treat them as morally equals. “The extension of the basic principle of equality from one group to another does not imply that we must treat both groups in the same way, or grant the same rights to both groups. Whether we should do so will depend on the nature of the members of the two groups. The basic principle of equality, I shall argue, is equality of consideration; and equal consideration for different beings may lead to different treatment and different rights.” In the second objection claim, Singer considers moral equity to be grounded on interests and not capabilities. Despite the need to treat animals equally morally as humans, they differ in capabilities from humans. From the point of view of an objector, certain capabilities may be considered form instance, human beings can speak, think, and as well make logical decisions based on their abilities. Humans are considered more intelligent than animals based on capabilities and reasoning. Humans can be considered equal because based on capabilities they can perform the same functions which are different in the case of animals. Humans are equal and nor human is considered inferior to another based on capabilities. Animals do not share the same similarities to human which lead then to being considered unequal. According to Singer, the basis of factual sameness among humans should not be used to make a point because it is rhetorically effective at displaying some form of racism, for instance, a claim that may disapprove of the existence of humans with lower intelligence. The argument based on equal capabilities can only be applicable in case there is not even a single difference in capability. This argument implies that if there is a selection of differences that exist among individuals that can be a good justification for an unequal society. A society that would encourage treating other humans as inferior. Humans differ in various aspects which are factual for intense a test on IQ. Not all humans score the same in the tests which would justify treating the same people differently because of the difference in capabilities. When the argument of moral equity is based on the factual sameness of humans, then it is likely that equity cannot be justified. This is because humans differ in various ways for instance those with disabilities have great differences in capabilities. Considering the differences would indicate that human beings have different levels of moral values. If one is committed to advocating for moral equity, then it should be obvious that that the factual difference in the capabilities of animals form humans should not be solid ground to argue that animals are moral equals to human beings. Singer supports the idea that capabilities or factual sameness are not a solid ground to advocate for moral equality. He gives an example of the abilities of human beings which takes place on a spectrum. An infant for instance or cognitively impaired individuals are not considered outcasts of the human category despite having different capabilities. The same case applies to animals whose abilities and intelligence exist on a spectrum and in some cases they have all sorts of capabilities that infants and permanently cognitive impaired individuals have. Therefore, categorical distinction through the use of capabilities would also result in making some humans ‘less of a human or inhuman’. Cohen further addresses the issue of factual sameness considering a mentally disabled human. He says that logically, such a human would not be considered to have any rights but the fact that he or she still holds an issue of identity with humans regardless of the mental state, the person retains his or her identity as a human. This guarantees the individual a right to individual consent. Animals, on the other hand, do not have such an identity because of their inability to make moral decisions or withhold consent. With this perspective, Cohen believes that animal experimentation should continue because failure to do so will neither justify suffering nor assure equality. If all the above factors are not appropriate grounds for moral equality, then what should be considered? Singer approves that Bentham has the correct response to this. We should not question the abilities or faculties but instead ask ‘Can it feel pain? Can it feel pleasure or be happy on its own? Or can its life be made better or worse?’ if the responses to the questions posed are all yes, then the thing should be treated with equal moral consideration. The interests of any species matter equally. If something can prosper or suffer then it should be considered to have an interest whether it is conscious or unconscious of the interest. If a being is subject to suffering, this has to be taken into consideration despite the nature of the being. The principle of equality requires suffering to be considered with equal measure on all beings. At this point, one may be willing to accept everything by now but still believes there are justifiable things we do to animals. This is inclusive of instances where the actions are unjustifiable to do to humans because they are out of human needs. Some actions or certain things are wrong to do to humans because they are ‘like us’ and ‘belong to the community.’ The same way a racist violates the principle of equality by giving weight to members of his race in case of clash of interests, the same applies to people who find differences in species. A person who is more inclined to his species will allow the interests of his species to override the interest of the members of other species. It is common for humans to be inclined to their species. What is most harmful and leads to this characteristic is the assumption about the differences in quality and kind between humans and non-humans. Speciesism is considered similar to the logic of sexism and racism or any other form of discrimination or prejudice. Denial of equal moral consideration among beings is immoral. This means that discrimination based on the type of species is also immoral. According to Cohen who opposes Singer’s argument, the parallelism between racism and speciesism in wicked rather than sound. He argues that there is a relevant moral distinction among different races which makes it irrational while the moral difference between humans and other species is profound. Cohen based his argument on utilitarian philosophy in that it would favor the continuation of animal experimentation. He argues that the benefits are profound through animal testing and abandoning the utilitarian principle would be immoral. He adds that discouraging animal testing would mean the end of scientific advancement or rather would subject humans to testing. In this Cohen is seen to undermine Singer’s comprehensive interpretation of species and the need for moral equality. Despite Cohen’s argument, I believe animals should be considered our moral equals. While we draw upon Bentham above, we can see in this section that Singer is not simply trying to tell us that each sentimental thing counts as one unit of consideration now. Instead, there is more being made on the point. The main claim is that when we ‘human beings’ grant animals equal moral consideration, we can see the actions and practices that treat them as subordinates. We will also be able to identify the practices that cause pain and suffering to the animals for human gain. Humans will then stop frustrating the interests of the animals and as well start promoting their well-being through ceasing oppressive practices. References Cohen, C. (1986). The case for the use of animals in biomedical research. A critical look at animal experimentation. vaccine, 23, 24. Singer, P. (2000). All animals are Equal. In Earth ethics: Introductory readings on animal rights and environmental ethics. 2nd ed. Edited by James P. Sterba. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
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You might want to look at the following article as well. http://www.mrmcmed.org/critical_look.pdf It claims animal research continues because of the following reasons: 1. For the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, animal experiments provide an important legal sanctuary. 2. Animal experimentation is easily published. 3. Animal experimentation is self-perpetuating. 4. Animal experimentation is lucrative. 5. Animal experimentation appears more «scientific» than clinical research. 6. The morality of animal experimentation is rarely questioned by researchers, who generally choose to defend the practice dogmatically, rather than confront the obvious moral issues it raises.
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