Summary of "The Case for Animal Rights"
In "The Case for Animal Rights," Tom Regan writes about his beliefs regarding animal rights. Regan states the animal rights movement is committed to a number of goals, including: "the total abolition of the use of animals in science; the total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture; and the total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping. Regan goes on and tells us the "fundamental wrong is the system that allows us to view animals as our resources, here for us--to be eaten, or surgically manipulated, or exploited for sport or money." Once people accept this view of animals being here for our resources, they believe what harms the animal doesn't really matter. Regan explains that in order to have this changed, people must change their beliefs. If enough people, especially people that hold a public office, change their beliefs, there can be laws made to protect the rights of animals.
Regan has two theories. The first he called "the cruelty-kindness view." This states that people should have a "direct duty to be kind to animals and a direct duty not to be cruel to them." He then goes on to explain the differences between kindness and cruelty and cites examples. His second theory is utilitarianism. He states that a utilitarian decides which option is most likely to bring the best results and "the best balance between satisfaction and frustration." The author then goes on talking about utilitarianism, giving examples, an analogy, and other problems with it.
The author argues inherent value. Regan points out animals should be able to experience life with inherent value of their own. Addressing commercial animal agriculture, the author declares "The fundamental moral wrong here is not that animals are kept in stressful close confinement or in isolation,