May 16, 2012. Philosophy - Ethical Theories Animal Rights Campaigns for equality are by no means new. Oppressed people have always stood up for their rights as sooner or later they realize the power of their speech and actions…
It has been claimed by animal liberationists that animals should be deemed as persons and their legal rights as equals should be legislated. Equality to animals does no assert that animals possess the same characteristics as human beings or have the same needs; rather, it is focused on the equality of consideration. It is not a question of facts but that of morality as it is our moral obligation to treat animals with care and respect. This phenomenon has widespread effects and implications as it requires us to make significant changes in our lifestyles, once we realize our responsibilities towards animals. Not all human beings are the same. This fact cannot be denied as every individual is distinctly different from another. The physical, mental, and emotional characteristics of one person can never be exactly similar to those of the other. Nevertheless, it does not mean that any one should be treated unjustly due to their abilities or attributes. If a person possesses less than normal intelligence level or is challenged by physical disabilities, it does not denote that s/he should be demeaned by alleging eligible for the treatment given to healthy, mentally, and physically fit people. Similarly, people from different casts or colours deserve equal amount of respect and welfare services irrespective of their ethnicity and religion. The term speciesism was coined by psychologist and philosopher Richard D. Ryder in 1970 (Sztybel 2). Speciesism denies animals’ equal standing because it encompasses the core idea of all forms of discrimination which involves harming others or refusing to help and benefit them due to arbitrary characteristics like gender, skin colour, species etc. Not easing the suffering of another living being or aiding in doing so is an abomination of the moral justification as every human is bound morally to treat fellow living beings on this universe with utmost care and devotion. Moral justification affirms the belief that various environmental aspects have a right to exist and it is our moral duty to allow and facilitate them to continue and persist (United Nations Environment Programme 3-4). It is expounded by United Nations General Assembly World Charter for Nature, which was signed in 1982 that all species have a moral right to exist (United Nations Environment Programme 1). These values are the focus of environmental ethics; the utilitarian systems of several philosophers also impregnate the essential basis of moral equality within themselves. The Utilitarian justification interprets various environmental aspects valuable, as they benefit individuals economically or are essentially vital or directly necessary to the human survival and existence. Speciesism can also be defined in the words of Peter Singer as biasing or being inclined towards the interests and benefits of the members of one's own species and against towards those belonging to other species. This term is analogous to other forms of discriminatory tyranny and oppression, the same sort of bigotry as racism and sexism. If we expand the boundaries of discrimination on the basis of arbitrary characteristics to include species other than human beings, it will be clear that animals deserve to be treated equally and we are treating them most unjustly. Peter Singer rejects ethics as an ideal system which is noble in theory but is impractical ...
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