Use and misuse of animals.

Essay by hot_dranUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2003

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Before we as a society can decide whether animals have rights or not, we need to keep an open mind. Evolution of life is at least 25 million years old, and from the beginning right to the present day humans have fought for the survival against other species and have evolved to such an extent that they have been taken as the most superior of all living beings. Both Cohen and Williams value human life. They feel if the betterment of humanity is wanted then use of animals has to be accepted. Animals like human beings do suffer but being a lower species they have a tendency to be used by humans. As superiority does not signify cruelty, therfore both the authors value animal life too and are against the misuse of animals. The critics against the use of animals argue about the "rights" of animals. To analyze this, one has to first correctly understand the use of the term "rights" and see how absurd they are on this issue.

What does the term "rights" mean? According to Cohen, "a right is a claim, or potential claim, that one party may exercise against another... To comprehend any genuine right fully, one must know who holds the right, against whom it is held, and to what it is a right" (865). Only those who have the capacity to make moral claims against one another can talk about defending rights. Human beings have rights because each one of them has consciously accepted the other's rights and thus will always be self-legislative and morally autonomous. Applying this definition of rights to animals, one can understand why they have been denied rights. As Cohen believes, "animals lack the capacity for free moral judgment" (866). They are incapable of exercising and responding to moral claims...