Animal Sentience in Ethics

Essay by jessdoddA, October 2014

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Jessica Dodd

PHI 2600

Professor Lucius

Sentience of Animals: A Philosophical Approach

Animal 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...