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Treatment Of Non Human Animals Essay

2514 words - 11 pages

I will argue that Utilitarianism is a reasonable ethical theory to demonstrate we have a duty to accord moral consideration to sentient beings equally, in this case non-human animals. I will illustrate under Utilitarian criteria, that non-human animals are indeed sentient and that it is enough to count for moral standing. I will defend my argument in examples of practices commonly used in treating animals a resource, such as for food and in laboratory experiments. This will prove that any action that fails to treat animals as a being with moral standing violates an animal’s right, and therefore is morally impermissible.

I will begin by showing why Utilitarian Theory justifies my claim in providing a strong argument for non-human animals. The theory says an action is morally right if it brings about the most utility for everyone affected than any other alternative action, in other words, “The greatest happiness of the greatest number.” In terms of my argument for non-human animals, I should sum up all of the interests of all the groups affected (humans and non-human animals) by my actions and choose the one with the greatest net satisfaction. Utilitarianism is used in my argument because it entails some good ethical properties. It is said to be universal, in which it addresses the interests of all those affected, regardless of any trait or characteristic. Everyone should adopt this rule. This theory also addresses what is morally good in terms of welfare, or rather our satisfaction or dissatisfaction, such as an interest in a happy, pleasurable life. This theory is best known for being consequentialist because it tells us the right action is the one that maximizes utility, or produces the best consequences. And finally, utilitarianism is aggregative because it takes into account all interests of those affected by a chosen action. Utilitarianism sums up my claim because it sides with non-human animals and are to be accounted towards our actions. But, before I argue that they ought to feature in our utilitarian calculations, I will discuss the main utilitarian criterion in what has moral standing: sentience.

It is necessary to prove non-human animals are sentient because it counts toward our utilitarian criterion for moral standing. Before I argue that indeed non-human animals are sentience, I will draw upon its definition. Sentience beings are those who can feel pleasure and pain and have preference interests that can be satisfied or frustrated. Most of us, with common sense, observe our pets to feel pleasure and pain do to our experiences with them. But, common sense can’t always be trusted so let’s look further into what counts as sentience. Those who are sentient are capable of suffering and to think otherwise would pervert your sense of understanding pleasure and pain. Well, for human beings, a simple example of shrieking from burning yourself on a stove shows a response to stimuli. We can’t experience anyone else’s pain but our own but,...

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