Our world today is becoming less and less conscious of the pain and suffering being inflicted on animals. As the outcome, animals are becoming even further tarred in society. Humans have and are continuing to handle animals as if they are some kind of material goods. This is considered as being immoral, as animals have their own lives, and they think, have feelings, can feel pain, require love, happiness, and everything else that humans have. As for human rights, it’s always uncertain. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Declaration sets out “a common standard of achievement” for all people and all nations. Even so the nation have pledged to recognize this declaration, still many people throughout the world do not receive these basic human rights (James 5). Therefore, my question is then hence if human rights are difficult to enforce, what hope is there for animals? What rights should animals have? This paper will be showing two different worldviews - the dominant and the biocentric worldviews with respect to animal rights. It will explore the moral and ethical issues raised by human superiority over animals. I will argue for the biocentric worldview, in favour of animal rights as I will focus on two main ideas: equality and suffering.
This paragraph will be showing the dominant worldview toward animal rights. There are many philosophers who claim that animals have no such thing as rights since animals can’t suffer and have no equality like humans. First of all, a dominant worldview is human centered (anthropocentric), it focuses on the importance of human beings and states nature has instrumental value (Class notes Oct.16). A French philosopher René Descartes, who supports the dominant worldview, go against animal rights by presenting the idea that animals are incapable of suffering in any way at all; that they are in fact, “‘unconscious automata’, possessing neither thoughts nor feelings nor a mental life of any kind” (Singer 10). He believes that animals were no more than “complicated biological robots” (BCC 3).
Ilana Mercer holds the same worldview as Descartes, but has different arguments. She argues similarly that there are no rights for animals and that “unlike human beings, animals by their nature are not moral agents. They possess no free will, no capacity to tell right from wrong, and cannot reflect on their actions, while they often act quite wonderfully their motions are merely a matter of conditioning” (2).
Neil Schulman is another author that holds a dominant worldview and asserts that the ‘animal rights’ movement is relying upon a logical fallacy which is based on commonly restricted premises. The first premise is that “human beings are no different from other animals, with no divine or elevated nature which makes us distinct” (1) Second, human beings are “ethically bound not to use other animals for their own selfish purposes” (1) He...