“Animal Liberation” is a book that was written in 1975 by Peter Singer. The book is widely known for its approach on the animal movement towards a philosophical notion. Its major focus is on the theoretical framework based on the rights of humans and nonhuman animals. He argues that animals are supposed to be considered as people because they have the same ability to suffer from pain, and the idea of rights had rejected their survival. Therefore, Singer approaches the aspects of rights between nonhuman animals and human to be considerable for both. His arguments that are ethically led consist of a “speciesism” that elaborates the explorative handling of animals. Moreover, he bases majority of his argument on the notion that animals deserve a better life just like the human because they are exposed to similar conditions within the environment. This is followed by their ability to perceive suffering.
Equal Consideration for Equal Interests
Singer holds that man`s use of animals for food and other activities like scientific research is a morally discriminating approach. In “Animal Liberation,” he argues that animals, like human beings, are entitled to equal moral opportunities and considerations. This is because animals are living things, and they perceive various sufferings and limitations they are exposed to. It is important to note that nonhuman animals, like human animals, have interests, and anything that has interests his entitled to moral. Therefore, every genuine interest should be enacted with equal opportunities and rights that will ensure the morals within the society are upheld.
There should be no differences difference whether the attention is your worst enemy`s pal, a woman's or a man's, a nonhuman animal's or a human animal's. Moreover, nonhuman animals are permitted to the same--that is, equal--consideration.
Therefore, it is also obvious that nonhuman animals are sentient and are responsive towards sense impressions. They have a strong ability to perceive and feel things. This goes to indicate that these nonhumans animals have an inclination to not just avoid pain, but also experience pleasure. This aspect of them makes them very similar to human beings, as human beings have an innate desire of happiness and a strong evasion of sorrow.
On the other hand, human beings have a more developed, more intricate and ‘higher’ mental state, and hence have far more varied interests than nonhuman beings. The former’s inclinations and needs are more complex, and more diverse. This can vary from enjoying a good book or a good movie to relishing a good meal; or enjoying a holiday at an exotic location by immersing themselves in the luxuries of the place. Another example of the human beings experiencing pain that the nonhuman beings do not is suffering panic attacks, or worrying about the future or even getting anxious over trivial things.
Thus we can say certain kinds or categories of human interests are very different than their nonhuman counterparts. This helps us conclude that we cannot have an equal consideration technique here as their needs are different. Both kinds need different and unequal methods of treatment.
The Oppression of Lab Animals
The use of animals as food and for research purposes is quite different. Using animals for research is beneficial since it produces knowledge, for example medical research produces result for curing diseases. However people should be considerate in reducing by reducing the pain and suffering of lab animals. This is more important than satisfying dietary choices. Singer affirms that research does not essentially produce cures for disease or produce knowledge since most researches are being repeated from previous experiments by researchers who are using research in order to get grants, get a degree, reputation or stay in employment. This therefore means animals should not be mishandled in factory farms in the pretext of doing research.
Singer poses a question: what if there are chances that a certain research will yield results for instance produce a cure for disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease? Is this enough reason for animals to undergo painful treatment to yield those results? In such circumstances therefore the good end justifies the use of painful means but not in cases to do with agriculture since there is no important good for animals to be subjected to pain and suffering. This is because there are no feasible results other than increasing or filing a gap in our knowledge.
Singer prescribes to school of utilitarianism, where the greater good of an action is justified. Are the benefits from research on animals enough to warrant the harm they go through in laboratories? If so, then as a matter of principle, the same can be applied to humans. But if people are of contrary opinion that research on humans in the laboratory is wrong and not justified, then the same should be applied to animals. This therefore implies that rese4arch on both humans and animals are not justified.
Immorality of eating animals
If people grant equivalent moral reflection to the interests of animals, then there is consideration of what people make of the use of nonhuman animals for food. According to Singer, the treatment of animals on “factory farms” is much of visiting unnecessary pain and suffering upon animals. For instances, practices such as the castration of cows is one of the ways in which pain and suffering are positively visited upon animals. Moreover, our treatment on animals does not only cause them unnecessary pain and suffering but the pain is also unnecessary for the achievement of the justifying end.
The results for doing research on animals should override those of doing research on humans. However if there positive results of doing research on animals, they should be more than those on humans in order for it to be justified. This is the utilitarianism that Singer advocates for, that results of doing research should be weighed one against another in order to choose the appropriate one that has more consequences with less harm to the animals involved. In other words the suffering and pain should be minimized and at the same time the enjoyment should be increased so that it produces the more good than harm.
In conclusion, the use of animals as food and for research purposes is quite different. Using animals for research is beneficial since it produces knowledge, for example medical research produces result for curing diseases. Moreover, animals are living things, and they perceive various sufferings and limitations they are exposed to. It is important to note that nonhuman animals, like human animals, have interests, and anything that has interests his entitled to moral. Therefore, every genuine interest should be enacted with equal opportunities and rights that will ensure the morals within the society are upheld.
Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New York: Ecco, 2002. Print.
Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement. New York: Harper Perennial, 2009. Print.
Singer, Peter. The Animal Liberation Movement: Its Philosophy, Its Achievements, and Its Future. Nottingham, England: Old Hammond Press, 1986. Print.
Gruen, Lori, Peter Singer, and David Hine. Animal Liberation: A Graphic Guide. London: Camden, 1987. Print.