Animal Sentience In Ethics Essay

1351 words - 5 pages

1DoddJessica DoddPHI 2600Professor LuciusSentience of Animals: A Philosophical ApproachAnimal Rights is a controversial topic worldwide. To understand animals and the rights that they are entitled to as living beings, a person must first understand how truly sentient animals are. Numerous philosophical approaches could give an explanation as to why animal rights should be of a significantly respected level. These philosophical approaches include Utilitarianism and the duty theory. Each theory is very different in how animal sentience would be promoted. Utilitarianism takes the approach of the greatest good and benefits. Duty theory opposes this idea and does not consider consequences, it simply portrays that individuals have a duty to obey a law that is universally accepted.Animals and humans have coexisted for thousands of years. In the 1970s animal rights protruded the world, and activists believed something more had to be done to protect animals. Throughout history animals have been mistreated, abused and disrespected as a living creature that engages in sentient emotion. According to Voiceless, an organization that aims to protect animals:"An animal is sentient if "it is capable of being aware of its surroundings, its relationships with other animals and humans, and of sensations in its own body, including pain, hunger, heat or cold." (Voiceless)Domesticated animals interact with their owners by showing love, pain, sadness, hunger and excitement. This is the primary definition of animal sentience and it needs to be considered profusely when discussing the ethical virtues that coincide with animal rights.Utilitarianism states that an action is morally right if it benefits an immense amount of people and brings out the greatest good. The Utilitarian's focus on the overall end goal in retrospect to what the motivation of the goal could have derived from. An example that is given in the textbook in the words of Mill, "He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty or the hope of being paid for his trouble." The end point of this focus is that the person was saved from drowning; the motivation for the person was insignificant because a life was still saved. Mill also explains Utilitarianism as:"The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure." (Mill)The overall concept that utilitarianism endorses is the maximization of the greatest happiness and the minimization of negative influences.Animal rights activists have suggested that with further action in animal rights laws, animals would be treated with more compassion. Many people do not understand that sentience of animals is a vigorously researched...

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