University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Should Animal Rights Activists Be Held Accountable for Abuse Videos?
The animal rights discourse is one of the structural characteristics of modern rational pluralism as well as one of the ironically legitimate discourses of post-modern civilization. From a sympathetic understanding point of view, we should elucidate Tom Reagan’s strong point of view and Mary Anne Warren’s weak point of view regarding animal rights. It is in our nature to uncover the limits as well as legitimize the value appeals of animals and indicate that we can clarify our duties by taking the discussion of animal rights seriously. Therefore, indeed, animals have rights so along as they live, breath and walk among us.
There is much debate as to whether non-human animals should be awarded rights and to what extent these rights reach. However, there is much less disagreement in accepting that indeed animals do have rights, as opposed to the opposite. The line between animal and human rights is not unclear like most simple minds tend to reason. A line is drawn and it includes factors that cannot be ignored at all. Simple minds do not understand that the very essence of animals living and breathing as well as walking among us is that we are just like them, only that we are more evolved. Quite strangely, sometimes in this life you will find individuals who are no better than the creatures they deny rights.
Although the idea for animal rights dates back to the 18th century, it has only become something more or less of a cause caliber among several well-placed intellectuals and philosophers. Jeremy Bentham seems to have put animal rights on the legal map by requiring the humane treatment of animals. It is important to note that Jeremy in his arguments does not support animal rights per se. In the book “the case for animal rights” (UC press, 1983), the idea of animal rights is found to be intellectually congenial but the idea extends to placing animals close to humans in the evolutionary cycle.
Times that are more recent have brought to light a different tradition, namely, the utilitarianism. The emergence of animal liberation emerged with a big bang. The concept is the same but the argument has been tweaked a little bit to cover the idea of animal rights in general. The scope does not propose animal domination, but rather the animals are well off in their lives. The essay will maintain that animals have rights and have a need to be liberated. We will argue that another point of view from this is a mistake.
Philosophers have avoided arguing that not all non-human animals should have rights for two major reasons. The first is because the consequences of doing so are limiting for humanity. The second reason is that the granting of such rights to creatures so simple makes the idea of granting them such rights seem to lack sense. One such leading author restricts such rights to mentally healthy animals, which are then referred to as ‘adult animals’ (Pallota, 20). Therefore, the argument is presented in three simple facts. The first is that human beings have rights; the second fact is that there is no moral difference between humans and adult animals and the third one indicates that the adult animals should have rights, as well.
The main argument for this is that both human beings and adult mammals are subject of life. This means that there are several factors that liken all mammals without putting one on a pedestal. The factors include; both are similar in terms of biological complexity, they are both aware of their existence. In addition, they know what’s happening to them, they prefer some things to others, they make conscious choices, they try to plan their lives, and finally that the length of their life matters to them. Just like human beings, being the subject of a life means that we are of inherent value. Inherent value is not measured in how useful we are in the world and as well, it does not diminish if they are a burden to others. Therefore, adult animals should be afforded rights just as humans.
In this lifetime, we cannot all agree on the same thing no matter how irrefutable your facts are. In the case of animal rights, there are more than a few arguments put forward. Some of these reasons include said facts such as; they do not think they are not conscious; they were put on this earth to serve man. In addition, they have no souls, they do not behave morally, they are not members of a moral community, they lack the capacity of free judgment and finally, they do not think. For instance, St. Thomas Aquinas records that animals respond to instinct while humans engage in rational thought. This is oddly debatable because there are some humans who do not listen nor react to reason. An article in the New York Times dated 5th April 2012 states that providing animals with rights is c categorical mistake in the philosophy. It also states, “Eagerness to treat animals kindly does not justify imposing one’s hopes and dreams for them on humans” (Tibor, 12).
Religion, on the other hand, teaches that it is only human beings with souls should deserve ethical considerations. Since non-human animals have no soul, then they are not entitled to having any moral rights. This argument is not useful because there are many controversies in the concept of a soul. It is not humanly possible to establish the existence of a soul in human beings or animals in a definitive experimental manner.
In conclusion, it is only sane and morally right to remember that it is in the nature of man to uncover the limits and at the same time legitimize the value appeals of non- human animals. It is only morally right to take animal rights seriously so long as we walk breath and live on this earth with the animals. Animals deserve the decency of clean habitats, food, water and medication. It is their right as dictated by nature, long before man made up his own rules that seeks to make him superior to any other being on this planet. Animals used to roam the earth long before man became civilized and they had their own rules. Man and animal might have had a few run-ins, but we lived together. Unlike the simple minds who might think that we are referring to constitutional rights, animals deserve to live comfortably like nature intended for man and animal to co-exist. What matters is that we understand and treat the animals with humanity, after all, only humans can show humanity. As they say, we are all insane, what differentiates us is the level of insanity. In the same respect, we are all animals, what separates us is the level of evolution.
“Animal Rights Debate.” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights/rights_1.shtml>.
“Animals do not have Rights.” The NY Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/09/25/ban-fur-then-why-not-leather/animals-do-not-have-basic-rights>.
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“Should Animal Rights Activists Be Held Accountable for Abuse Videos?.” BEEF 26 Nov. 2013: 67-105. Print.