Are Animals Part of Our Moral Community

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“Moral community refers to the network of those to whom we recognize an ethical connection through the demands of justice, the bonds of compassion, or a sense of obligation” (Spohn). Different moral communities are found to be formed all around us with people who share similar beliefs and find common interests in living according to their moral philosophy. Although there are many moral communities split those from others, the majority of us all still share similar basic understandings of life. Living in the twenty-first century we as an American society have already adapted to meet and understand a few ground rules. Even though these things surely can occur and do still happen in the world, it is without doubt understood that acts such as human sacrifices, slavery, and even murder, are all acts that are inhumane and no longer accepting in this generation as it may have been in the generations before ours. With time our world evolves and not everything that was ok yesterday will be ok today or tomorrow. The world as a whole is constantly enforcing new laws and even ruling out some old ones. Freedom of speech, voting rights, and equality are only a few examples of what was once never even imaginable to people, yet today all who live in America and many who live outside of the United States have these abilities. People’s opinions and viewpoints are constantly changing and with the power to voice those opinions, this can take our nation to all different directions. Today we legalize same-sex marriage in a few states; what’s tomorrow going to look like? How animals should be treated is just as big a controversy as whether slavery, equality, or same-sex marriages are moral or not. A majority of people will consider animals as part of their moral community while the rest will not. The majority of people that do consider animals as part of their moral community will range in many different reasons for doing so. They might be animal lovers. The type of person who finds animals adorable and simply cannot resist themselves from petting or holding an animal, they may even own a pet or two. Some animal lovers have a bigger sense of compassion and they may not even look at their animal as a pet but rather as family. Many humans bond with their animals as more than just a pet, in fact, many get pets in place of children even. Some even love animals more than people or even themselves. Matter of fact, there is even a website called just that, “I Love Animals More than People” where real people share their stories as to why they would prefer their pets over people any day. On this site you constantly read commentaries where they feel more comfortable and accepted with their pets then other people which is obviously why they have a deep sense of obligation toward them and stand up for their justice. The rest of the people that don’t view animals as part of their moral community are people that may not necessarily even hate animals, although it can be a possibility, they may just not see the sense of obligation to feel the need to stand up for the justice of animals. This type of person also ranges in reasoning as to why they do not associate themselves with a moral view for animals. Perhaps this person has lived their life without ever having to need or have the opportunity to bond with an animal therefore they can care less about fighting for their rights. These types of people could have had unpleasant encounters with animals before and live disliking them. Others may simply just dislike them for no particular reason, obtain allergies from them so they don’t associate themselves with them, or they may be ok with animals but just aren’t too crazy about them. Again, just because they don’t have morals towards animals does not mean they hate animals, it can mean that that person finds compassion for other things. Religion is a huge factor to many decisions that people make. For example, Jews definitely consider animals as part of their...
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