Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Human, Animals, Humans, Singer, Song, Equality, Civil Rights, Democracy

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/13

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As an egalitarian, Peter Singer champions for equality as a basic moral principle and proposes that both humans and animals should be considered equal. He argues that pain and pleasure are both constituents of our moral values and that whenever a being is affected by an action, its interests should be put into consideration and given the same level of importance as those of any other being. Based on this, all beings possess interests hence should be treated equally with humans. I will argue against Singer on the grounds that animals are less important than humans based on the fundamental reason that they are not human. I support that animals should indeed be treated with kindness but that does not mean that they should be treated equally with humans. In the first section I will discuss the view at hand in a clear manner eliminating all ambiguities. In the second section, I will support my objection to Singer. In the last section, I will give a possible response to my objection to Singer and why that response is a good one.

Section 1: Clear explanation of the view

It is apparent that humans often treat beings outside our species in a way that would be morally unacceptable if the same treatment was inflicted upon other humans. We kill beings that are not our species for food and clothing, subject them to torturous experiments, overwork them, and confine them for our own pleasure. Singer challenges whether we are justified in any way to treat other sentient beings this way.
According to Singer, there isn’t a justifiable defense for us to treat animals in a dissenting manner and he describes our behavior as “Speciesist.” Speciesism as Singer describes it is our treatment of beings outside our own species in a manner that is prejudicial (different) compared to how we treat beings of our own species. From Singer’s argument “Speciesist” correlates with the terms “racist” and “sexist.” Belonging to a different species moulds our actions towards other species and according to Singer, this should not be the case and is not justifiable in determining moral treatment.
Singer accepts that animals are indeed deficient of the intelligence possessed by most humans which leads to them being treated differently, but this does not allow for their needs and interests to be given less consideration. Even if it was right for a racist to assume that women or black people are inferior, this would not in any way justify for their needs and interests to be given less consideration. “Speciesism,” “Sexism,” and “racism” are similar in this respect since they focus on certain attributes which would be irrelevant as far as moral treatment is concerned. Singer however does not demand for mere benevolence but is actually advocating for animals to be given full equality to human beings.
Equal consideration of the interests of every human is what human equality demands. Human beings are however not equal since each is different from the other based on many qualities which include virtue and intelligence. One may therefore be left wondering which equality all humans demand. Singer states that equality is not based on factual equality and he even makes the argument that the distribution of traits may not even be uniform among sexes and races. Singer’s view is also supported by Bernard Williams who asserts that the demand for equality cannot be obtained from factual equality in humans since that kind of equality does not exist. According to Williams men are equal based on the mere fact that they are all men, equally. Therefore, there is no moral significance in being a human being. However, belonging to the species Homo sapiens carries morally relevant characteristics which specifically are the capacity to sense both pain and affection. These elements are the ones used by Singer to justify equality of animals since they too possess these attributes. If the criterion for equality is the ability to suffer, animals too possess this hence equal status should be extended to them as well. Singer uses this conclusion to argue that sentience is the requisite for equality, and not reason or intelligence. When talking about equality Singer does not refer to equal treatment but rather “equal consideration of interests.” This means altering treatment based on the nature of the being in consideration. To clarify this, Singer gives an example that it would not make sense to talk about the rights of a dog to vote the same way it wouldn’t make sense to talk about the rights of a man to procure an abortion.

Section 2: Objection of the view

As aforementioned, I will object Singer’s argument based on that animals are less important than humans for the simple reason that they are not human. Even if Singer tries to correlate the terms sexism, racism, and speciesism there is a major difference between them. Animals are not subjected to different treatment for merely standing on fours or having feathers but because they are different from humans in morally relevant ways. It would not be true to say that black people cannot be educated hence there would be no justification for excluding them from attending school. The same statement cannot hold true for primates or even dogs. Therefore, intelligence is morally relevant with regard to upholding of moral responsibility. With that said, it is apparent that there are no other beings on earth that possess intelligence close to that of humans hence they cannot be treated equally.
Another reason for why animals cannot be given equality to humans for merely not being human is the fact that it is morally permissible for us to take care of our own before getting to others. For instance, it would seem absurd for a person to choose feeding a starving dog over feeding a starving human child. Therefore, even though we should not make sentient creatures go through unnecessary pain, we cannot put their interests before our own.
Humans have some specific capacities at varying levels which other beings do not. One such quality is responsibility. Humans take responsibility for their deeds hence deserve respect as owners of moral autonomy. Humans have certain reciprocation abilities which animals do not. Animals do not understand what it is to treat each other or humans fairly. After a human sees another in pain, they get morally inclined to help, perceiving that pain as not desirable. Animals however would not respond this way since they do not possess abstract thoughts like those. Humans also have a great desire for respect, something that non-humans do not have due to their low intellectual capacity. By making a human a slave, he feels that his dignity has been violated while a non-human like an ox or an elephant would not experience a similar loss of self-esteem.
Humans deserve a higher status as far as morality is concerned due to the earlier mentioned capacities they have which animals lack. Even though sentient beings do not desire pain, it is vital that they sometimes experience it in order for humans to make drugs that can reduce human suffering and this is justified by the reasons given that human life has more worth than non-human life. Some humans like the mentally ill may even be less sentient than some animals like chimpanzees, hence why should they not both be considered equally for use in experimentation if humans are considered more worthy based on intellectuality? The best response I would offer to this challenge by Singer is based on sentiment. As a human, I would think that that it could be me when I see a mentally ill person since he/she human being like me, and this makes greater sense. A human being would identify themselves with a member of his/her own species no matter the level of mental or physical disability than he/she would identify themselves with another species. That is why I would not as closely identify myself with the non-human. It would be a worse scenario to have a human being no matter how mentally debilitated being used in a medical research experiment, even though the amount of pain experienced by a non-human would be similar. Therefore, it would be justifiable to extend greater care to those of our own species, and that should not necessarily be termed as speciesist.

Section 3: Response to my view

The best response that would be given to my objection would be greatly similar to Singer’s argument. This is that my argument only further advocates for “Speciesism.” This response would be articulate since I support that human life is of greater value than animal life and that animals should not be granted equality for they are not human. This response is good since it is accurate in challenging my objection in very relevant ways as I will show. On an issue like that of using animals for drug research based on a higher value for human life, I may receive the response that this is “Speciesist” since I am only supporting this without considering the interests of the animal also. While I as a human want to discover a drug that would reduce my suffering, I am ignoring the fact that the animal too does not want to suffer as it will during experimentation, hence we equal out in our interests. These are the interests of avoiding suffering in this context. A respondent may argue that the amount of pain that a human, whether intelligent or retarded, would experience as a specimen for medical experimentation is equal to that an animal would experience. Therefore, it would be prejudiced to use an animal over a human.
Lastly, my support for the use of an animal rather that a human of the same or lower intellectual capacity for experimentation may also be considered “Speciesist” for objecting the use of a human being for simply indentifying him/her as a member of my own species. This is based on the fact that if humans are given a higher moral status for their intelligence, this should be compromised when a human lacks such qualities. This would therefore mean that equal chances of being subjected to experimentation should be given to animals and humans of the same or lower mental capacity. In spite of such a possible response to my objection as being speciesist, I still hold that compared to other organisms, humans have greater value. I would therefore embrace being called a speciesist if that is what it means to look after my own kind with a higher preference. Rather than giving animals equality which is mostly impossible, they only need to be treated kindly.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 13) Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay. Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/
"Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay." WePapers, 13 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/. Accessed 12 May 2021.
WePapers. 2020. Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay., viewed May 12 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/>
WePapers. Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed May 12, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/
"Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay." WePapers, Dec 13, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/
WePapers. 2020. "Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved May 12, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/).
"Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 13-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/. [Accessed: 12-May-2021].
Example Of Singer’s “All Animals Are Equal” And Its Objection Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-singers-all-animals-are-equal-and-its-objection-essay/. Published Dec 13, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2021.
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