Moral And Ethical Obligations To Animals

2304 words - 9 pages

Morality is a naturally occurring, global, psychological effect many believe is based on a human’s ability to empathise, it is thought the uncomfortable feeling of seeing another suffer pushes us to prevent the suffering. It can be viewed as the governing principal that allows us to know the difference between what is right and wrong, it drives us to act in a way which allows other beings we exist with to have a positive experience, preventing suffering. This is why irreprehensible acts such as mental abuse, physical and sexual assault and murder are considered just so irreprehensible.

The morality principal occurs in individuals to varying degrees, for example person A may dedicate their working life to helping underprivileged humans acting in a moral way towards mankind, while person B is a dedicated vegan, donates to charity and lives a lifestyle which is 100% friendly to the earth. Looking at these examples it is easy to see the differences lay in each individual’s interpretation of a being having an experience, this therefore determines their ability to empathise with humans, animals and or nature.

Knowing the rudimentary explanation of morality, ethics could almost be described as the law of morality. The word ethics is used in an abundance of contexts and therefore is described using a vast amount of different guidelines. When biomedical or behavioural research is conducted on humans, which almost is the only research conducted on humans, a specific set of laws known as ‘The Belmont Report’ demands adherence. Originating in the USA in 1979 it is now used almost worldwide, while it is a short set of laws it explicitly states the benefits of the research must outweigh any risks to the participants, each participant must be entirely and accurately aware of and give full consent to the research, and finally no participant should have a significantly more positive or negative experience than any other participant. Within The Belmont Report there is a lot of extra fine print, these are the main points put across, all of which ensure the utmost respect, safety and benefice for all human participants. This is because of the global aversion to harm of human beings.

It is important to reiterate that these ethical guidelines ensure respect, safety and benefice for all human participants, not one of these laws can be applied to the protection of animals who involuntarily fuel almost every medical trial, experiment and research program. If empathy is the driving force behind morality it is not unreasonable to suggest this is because as a human being we are able to imagine the exact feelings of suffering experienced by another human being, be it physical or mental thusly leading ourselves to feel uncomfortable in the presence of another’s suffering. Viewing our obligation to cease human suffering in this manner, it suddenly becomes extremely obvious why it is so important to recognise that animals are indeed sentient beings having an...

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