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Philosophy: Animal Rights - Essay Example

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This paper seeks to defend animal rights against Cohen’s argument that animals have absolutely no rights. Cohen puts forth the argument that animals have absolutely no rights. According to Cohen, to have a right one must be able to make moral demands and be part of a moral community. Only humans have the capability to perceive the moral consequences of their actions, and are reasonably aware of what the effects are to animals or other human beings. He bases his argument from this perspective citing their nature that they lack the capacity to judge moral situations like human beings do. This argument does not stand since animals are entitled to rights preventing them from abuse and immoral experimentation. It is worthwhile to note that human duty to take care of animals entails responsible exploitation of all species, which he is bound to by the obligations we have to animals. Humans are obligated to treat animals with respect based on a moral position of utilitarianism. Animal liberation is absolutely a matter of the principle of equality since animals too have interests. The interests of animals should be given equal consideration to human interests. Concerning this, Cohen’s argument only human beings are entitled to rights is not defensible since animals have the right to be free from harm. Animals too have essential rights although, not as equally detailed, compared to human rights since there is a difference between obligations and rights, obligation being what we ought to do and rights being what others can demand from us. Cohen’s argument is not right, because animals deserve to live according to their nature and they should be free from exploitation, harm or abuse except when for the animal’s good. The capability of humans to know moral implication of their action does not mean to treat other species in an abusive manner. In his own perspective, Cohen, human duties to animals are of lower order; this is wrong because we have an obligation to take care of the animals the same way we do to fellow humans. The human knowledge of the moral implication of whatever they involve in should be a guide in caring for animals, For instance, by vaccinating them, taking them for a walk, feeding them and general care of animals. It is not right to inflict pain to animals for the purposes of deriving satisfaction. Humans are also animals and therefore, should treat the animals with respect (Regan 34). In addition, it is not right to use discriminatory terms such as species to treat human and animals differently. Cohen uses the term obligation to bring a different meaning to rights and duties, this is wrong because it is human duty to ensure the animals are healthy and are free from disasters such as hunger and diseases. Peter Singer, an Australian philosopher, bases his argument on utilitarianism which says that actions should purely be judged on their consequences. He argues that our moral concern should not make animals suffer. In his view, we should treat animals as if they are possessions. We should only use them to benefit us, but hurting them is morally unjustifiable. In addition, he argues all animals are equal including the human and believes that human beings should not harm animals in any way. In fact, human beings should protect and ensure the well-being of animals. Singer opposes Cohen stand that animals have no rights and shows this in his work by advocating for better treatment of animals. He insists animals’ ...Show more


Author Tutor Course Date Animal Rights Introduction Animals have made contribution immensely in the human society since the beginning of civilization. In early days, animals were hunted for food, and their bones used to make tools where as their skins could be used for clothing and shelter…
Author : annabellcorwin
Philosophy: Animal Rights
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