Peter Singer’s Case for Animal Liberation

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Peter Singer’s Case for Animal Liberation

Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and is considered one of the world’s most influential people. His book Animal Liberation (1975) is the most influential book written on the subject, having in a sense started the animal rights movement. Singer argues that animal liberation today is analogous to racial and gender justice in the past. Just as people once thought it incredible that women or blacks should be treated as equal to white men, so now speciesists mock the idea that all animals should be given equal consideration. What equalizes all sentient beings is our ability to suffer. In that, we and animals are equal and deserving equal consideration of interests. Singer’s argument is a utilitarian one, having as its goal the maximization of interest satisfaction. Singer’s views on the relationship between civil rights movements and the animal rights movement. Proportionality exists between the animal rights movement (ARM) and civil rights movements (CRM). Singer argues that the ARM parallels the CRM in that to support the latter is to support the former. He also argues that animal liberation is analogous to racial and gender justice in the past. One cannot justifiably support the fight against sexism, for example, while not concerning themselves with the injustices done to nonhuman, sentient beings. Singer thinks speciesism is a human failing.

Speciesism, a term coined by Richard Ryder, can be defined as an unjustified bias that favours one’s own species over every other. Singer thinks that speciesism is a human failing. He urges the reader to consider his/her (our) fundamental attitudes from the point of view of those most disadvantaged by his/her (our) attitudes, and the practices that follow from these attitudes. Singer is a proponent against speciesism because he feels it fails to consider the whole picture. By solely focusing on what one wants/needs and not taking into consideration the...
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