All Animals Are Equal
According to Peter Singer’s article, ‘All Animals are Equal’, he gives reasons as to why all humans and non-humans should be entitled to equal rights. He believes that since men and women are both human who share some similarities and have differences, but share equal rights. In the same way non-humans and humans share similarities like life and have differences, but non humans do not share equal rights with humans. He therefore does not support consideration of speciesism in that matter, since racism and sexism is condemned and not considered in the rights of humans. And due to this, he argues that the equality theory should examine equal concern of all beings for fair dealing and rights.
As much as men and women could have some differences, the differences between humans and non-humans are serious in that it will not make sense for both species to experience and enjoy the same rights. The fact that men and women have certain differences such as race, creed and sex, is similar where non humans and humans do have some differences and therefore, if the Women Liberation is protesting on equal men and women rights, then the Animal Liberation should consider argue on the difference just like the women liberation. Through this both women and animals could be considered to some extent due the fact of strong difference the women and animal liberation have in the agendas. This argument of difference where human beings are not equal based on the fact that they come from different races, sex, or creed is an argument with inductive components where the difference between human beings does not make them non-human in any way, and no human with certain moral traits should be denied any rights. For instance, gay and straight people, whatever their difference in race or sex, have the right to life as well as the right to vote as citizens of a nation. A person’s race, sex or creed has nothing to do with their abilities, since they are all humans. Therefore the conclusion of this argument could be false as much as the premises strong facts.
Biblically, all things were created and human beings were separated from the other animals, and ordered to be in control of all other animals. Human beings have the authority over all other animals, to protect and provide for their descendants, without any corresponding rights of the animals. Clearly, through the obligations given to humans, it shows that animal life has less value to human life than God (Francione, 2010, p. 25). From this biblical fact, it is clear that we have a right to use animals to cater for us, whether for food or labor. The scriptures allow humans to get a source of food from non humans, like fish, hens among others. Moreover, the fact that man and woman in the beginning were left in the wilderness to provide for themselves, it was a clear indication that God had given them the right to feed on anything in that land, be it plants or animals, for them to survive. This biblical fact offers valid and sound premises, to show that the conclusion of nonhumans and humans cannot be applied the same equal rights, is right.
The argument that the concern of others should not be based on the principles of racism or sexism is just. However, some philosophers argue that, if such principles are relied on in human rights, then the principle of speciesism should also be condemned where humans should not be entitled to exploit nonhuman just as the way they are not allowed to use other humans is an inductive argument. The argument is based its premises on fair facts, but has a false conclusion , because humans have the obligation of all creations, including non-human therefore are able to make decisions for the other creations and make decisions for themselves all together. This is due to the brain factor. Humans have brain qualities that other animals do not have. For instance, humans have the quality of understanding the meaning of life unlike the non-humans who are not able to think of any reason they are living. This therefore makes this case have a false conclusion.
Some philosophers, such as Bentham in relation to this article, believe that the magnitude of suffering should be an important consideration to give a being the right to equal consideration. From his perspective, total consideration should be applied since the capacity of suffering is different from the capacity of language or for mathematics. He, however, argues that anything that can suffer should not be subjected to any suffering just like it is a crime to torment humans; therefore it should be a crime to kill animals either for food or perhaps other reasons. It is a fact that the magnitude of suffering as well as enjoying is a requirement for equality. Therefore, he argues that if a being suffers, then for equality purposes, it is necessary that the suffering is taken into consideration. From his argument and we reflect his argument with the days of Jesus Christ, it is clearer than non-human animals were less valued by God than humans. So have equal rights are a decision that would seem to challenge God’s orders. For instance, when Jesus sends demons from legion to the swine (Preece, 2002, p. 102) was it a wrong thing according to such philosophers or was it the right thing? It is just the same way when some sees his child and ox fall into a well, who would they want to save first? Therefore, it will not make any natural sense, for humans and non humans to have equal rights based on this argument, as much as they are strong but with the wrong conclusion.
Feeding on non-human or having experimented on is not in any way a form of speciesism. It is through the eating of some of these nonhumans that makes humans’ physically healthy due to the nutrition they offer. For instance, a child who needs to be well taken care of and fed with food rich in nutrition such as vitamins, the eating of some of these animals is essential to ensure they grow healthy. For example, a cow that produces enough milk should be fed well for this purpose. Just like an ox that helps Plough a farm that would produce much food to be sold or for the family, should be fed and well taken care of, for this purpose. Moreover, human beings are genetically created to be omnivorous, and can only feed on non-human flesh, and plants for them to survive and stay healthy. In an instance where, someone lives with his family in a place where during the hot season, their plants totally dry up. Would such a family be wrong to feed on the nonhuman animals they have? Or should they wait for the rain season and starve to death? To some extent, the last option would look as an attempt of murder. Moreover, whether one believes he or she was created or evolved, humans have different characteristics as nonhumans such as their level of intelligence, ability to experience pleasure as well as pain, and how they understand morality are the factors that separate humans from nonhumans, therefore giving humans the liberty to do what they like with other animals (Burkart, 2010, p. 83).
However, contrary to the issue of speciesism, where Singer argues that if human beings consider equality with the principle, then racism and sexism should as well be considered, is a valid but unsound argument due to the fact that the two species are naturally different. For example, if a cat happens to chase a rat or a mouse, it would not be speciesism, since cats were naturally created to attack an also feed on rats and mouse. Therefore, due to the nature of animals attacking other smaller animals for food or to protect their territories, it could be similarly right to say that it is human nature to attack on some animals for food as well as attack other animals to secure them from danger. It is natural that it hard for non-humans to behave ethically to other nonhumans just similar to humans who tend to behave unethically toward other humans perhaps through racial or gender factors.
Burkart, D. J. (2010). Animal Rights: A Question of Ethics. Raleigh, North Carolina: Lulu Press.
Francione, G. L. (2010). Animal Welfare and The Moral Value of Nonhuman Animals. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 6(1), 24-36. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1743872109348989.
Preece, G. R. (2002). Rethinking Peter Singer: A Christian critique. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.