Animal Rights and Euthanasia

Essay by victoriagcarrollCollege, UndergraduateB+, October 2014

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Animal Rights

Animal rights is a topic that has been debated for an extremely long time. Many argue for and against it without having any grounds to why they feel either way. The majority does not even know what animal rights entails and therefore a valid argument cannot be made. By exploring what animal rights really means, arguments for and against them can arise; thus allowing the moral implications behind each argument to be seen.

Defining animal rights depends seriously on how one views the issue as a whole. Lewis Vaughn writes:

"The traditional attitude toward animals is that they are merely resources that humans dispose of as they see fit; animals have instrumental value only. But many reject this traditional view and put forward reasons for supposing that animals have moral status…a suitable candidate for moral concern or respect in its own right" (Vaughn, 564)

Therefore according to Vaughn, how one views an animal morally can strongly dictate how one views their rights as animals.

For example Peter Singer has one of the most famous arguments for animal rights based on his view that animals have moral rights to happiness and therefore should be treated as moral agents. Likewise it is equally important to look at arguments against animal rights to see the differences within each.

Peter Singer believes strongly in Bentham Mill's view on happiness. Happiness should be whatever causes one the most amount of pleasure, free from pain. This view is the basis of Singer's argument for animal rights. Singer's argument in a nutshell consists of this:

Animals can feel pain.

If anything can feel pain it is a moral agent and should be treated with moral consideration.

Therefore an animal is a moral agent and should be treated with moral consideration.

The main goal of his...