Animal rights are concerned with the status of animals, whereas environmental ethics concerns itself with the relationship to the environment. I will show how the existence of animal ethics depends on the existence of environmental ethics. I will prove this by showing that such philosophers who have practiced animal rights such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Paul Taylor are limited because they are individualistic. This means they are limited to animal concerns, and nothing else. However, with environmental ethics such philosophers as Aldo Leopold, Laura Westra, and Arne Naess look at the environmental ethics collectively. This means they look at the big picture, including the animals and its environment.
I will first look at the views of Peter Singer, who is a utilitarian. A utilitarian is someone who believes the greatest amount of good for the greatest number. Singer wants the suffering of animals to be taken into consideration.
He states, "If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering..." What this means is that the suffering of animals is not justified. He also states how he thinks a major way to stop the suffering is to stop the experimenting on animals. He states "...the widespread practice of experimenting on other species in order to see if certain substances are safe for human beings, or to test some psychological theory about the effect of severe punishment of learning...". When Singer is talking about the experiments and suffering of animals, he is concerned most with domestic animals, he is not too concerned with the other animals in the world. Views like these make Singer limited.