Essay on Animalistic Morals

Submitted By Flounda123
Words: 1632
Pages: 7

David Metcalf
Jess Smith
College Writing
Animalistic Morals
A moral issue is generally considered to be one which comes from the need to take another person's interests into consideration. Although many people do value animals, there are still others who consider animals as no more than a source of food. It could be argued that our primary moral obligations towards those people who value animals includes secondary obligations towards the animals they value. The problem then is that we have no secondary obligations towards those animals which are not valued by people. Consequently those animals would have no moral rights. Despite that argument we still feel that it is morally wrong to inflict certain actions, such as torture, on animals. Consider the possibility that animals do have moral rights. If we change the initial statement to read a moral issue is one which arises from the need to take another living being's interests into consideration we can then consider what gives a living being moral rights, and what moral difference there is between animals and humans.

The interests of others may range from simple hobbies to caring for the sick. Obviously these interests have differing levels of moral importance. Although there are a number of moral principles that we could use as examples, let us consider two which are most relevant to animals and humans. They are, the right to individual freedom, and the right not to suffer harm from another. Humans expect these rights from each other, but do not necessarily grant them to animals. What is it then that gives humans these rights but not animals? Language and consciousness have been used by philosophers as separate criteria for moral rights, but we should also consider the possibility that some other criteria may determine moral right. While watching the Ted talk Frans de Waal says in all things there’s two pillars the first pillar is Reciprocity which means the ideal of fairness which in animal society there is no fair or wrong there is just the ideal of surviving. The second pillar is Empathy or in better words compassion the act of showing one you love which there is in the animal kingdom because to not mate and breed is to die and an animal’s sense of compassion is to reproduce and move on with everyday life which include food, water, and shelter.

Let us consider first the validity of language as the crucial moral difference between animals and humans. The idea that someone possesses a right to a thing is understood to mean that if he is denied that thing then the person has grounds for complaint. In order to complain I must be able to show the other person why he is wrong in his action. As moral beings we must be able to justify such criticisms and evaluate our actions so that we agree on what is right and wrong action. In order to do so we must be able to communicate, and that requires a language. It has been argued by those who support the validity of language argument that if a being is not able to complain on its own behalf then it has no rights. To participate in a dialogue one must have a language, and that is something that animals do not have. But that is also true of some humans. In the early stage of their lives babies do not have a language yet they are still granted moral rights. It could be argued that we know babies will soon attain a language and, therefore, should be granted moral rights. We could also take our distant cousins the gorillas for instance in the book wild justice the Zoo gorilla Binti Jua had no reason but a motherly instinct to protect and return the three year old but without prompt and just did so we could say she felt morally obligated as a mother to pick up and return the unconscious boy.
If animals do not have moral rights what prevents us from treating them as mere objects? Suppose I buy some fresh flowers and when they decay I throw them in the trash. There is no moral issue with that action. But if I buy a puppy and threw