HU 361 Commitment & Choice
November 14, 2012
The Rights of Animals
When we say that all human beings, referring to both men and women, whatever their race or sex may be are created equal, what is it that we are actually proclaiming? Peter Singer, writer of “All Animals are Equal” aims to advocate to us as readers to make the mental switch in respect to our attitudes toward a species other than our own. And by this I am referring to animals. R.G Frey takes on a very different position that he expresses in “Moral Standing, the Value of Lives, and Specieism.” Although there is nothing in his work that has ever suggested that animals don’t count, he disagrees with Singer, in a way, because he does not believe that animals possess moral standing.
But first, I would like to discuss Singer’s essay merely due to the fact that there may be a case for a new liberation movement. Singer “urges that we extend to other species the basic principle of equality that most of us recognize should be extended to all members of our own species (pg. 171).” Many may note or make the connection that the idea of “the rights of animals” is somewhat of a parody to the case for women’s rights. But some may argue that the case for equality between men and women cannot validly be extended to non-human animals because, for an example, and realistically speaking, women now have the right to vote because they are just as capable of making that decision like men are, whereas animals on the other hand are incapable of understanding the significance of voting so they cannot have that right.
Which then brings me back to, what exactly are we declaring when we say all human beings are equal? Because as we know it, we must face the fact that humans come in different shapes and sizes. We each have different moral capacities, different intellectual abilities, different amounts of feeling and sensitivity to others, different abilities to communicate, and...