Essay on on opposite spectrums

Submitted By jvillar
Words: 667
Pages: 3

The war against animal inequality (defined by some, as humans being morally more significant than nonhuman animals) has begun. Peter Singer, in his article “Ethics and Animals” makes a few valid points. The way that these animals are treated on factory farms is indeed horrendous and should definitely not be occurring in the 21st century. But, to compare animals to humans is completely preposterous. Bonnie Steinbock in her paper “Speciesism and the Idea of Equality” stated, “ human beings have a different moral status from members of other species because of certain capacities which are characteristics of being human. We may not all be equal in these capacities, but all human beings possess them to some measure, and non-human animals do not. For example, human beings are normally held to be responsible for what they do.”(Steinbock 252) I’ve never witnessed a lion on trial for murdering a gazelle or a cat cleaning up a mess that it made. This by no means condones the torture and suffering that animals may go through, but it does show a sense of moral superiority.
Singer’s argument is that humans being superior to animals in sense of reasoning and other intellectual capabilities, is not enough to justify the line we draw between humans and animals. He argues that if reasoning and intelligence are the only characteristics which dictate whether you live a life of pain, that of an animal,or a human one, then infants and people with profound mental disability who clearly lack these skills have to be subject to that life of pain as well. He believes that this idea justifies the use of infants and people who are mentally ill for painful and lethal scientific research instead of animals who are superior to such. ( Singer 2) Evidently, Singer does not know the purpose of scientific research. We spend millions perhaps even billions of dollars a year on scientific research for the benefit of humans. So it would be very contrary to use humans and risk harming them, when our ultimate goal is to save and benefit their lives. Steinbock agrees that, “If we can free human beings from crippling diseases, pain and death through experimentations which involves making animals suffer, and if this is the only way to achieve such results, then I think that such experimentation is justified because human lives are more important than animals lives,” a point which Singer fails to acknowledge. (Steinbock 253)
Even though, Singer may not agree, intelligence is definitely a factor in how we treat others. Just take a look at society, anywhere that one tries to apply for a