Summary of “The Case for Animal Rights”

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In his essay The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan has set out a broad outline as an introduction for his book, The Case for Animal Rights, with same title. In the beginning, the author makes a special emphasis on that, the goals of the advocation of animal rights not only make people treat animals ‘more humane’, but also deny the view, which is fundamental wrong, that animals are humans’ resources. As a defender of animal rights as well as a philosopher, Regan attempts, through his professional knowledge, which area he has been exploring over ten years, to justify that animals have the rights as equal as human beings. In his own words, “people must change their beliefs before they change their habits”. In the next part, Regan describes the process how the beliefs are produced. He asks a question, how to make the moral status of animals become understandable, as start. Then, through an example that one’s neighbour kicks his dog, he raises a theory that the duties of humans to regard animals are indirect ones. In order to illustrate this theory more clearly, he quotes a conception called contractarianism which, in the follow several paragraphs, has been proved is not strongly enough to protect animal rights. Because, according to this theory, it systematically denies the duties that humans have to those, including animals undoubtedly, who do not have a sense of justice. Animals will be protected only depend on the sentimental interests of humans. Needless to say, the author needs to look for another theory. Utilitarianism, which is mentioned next, has two main principles: equality and utility. The much more significant point is the second one, which means that what we will do must be brought out the best balance between satisfaction and frustration, and the best results for majority, even an evil means with a good end. Obviously, any adequate moral theory will refuse to justify this assertation. Again, Regan discards utilitarianism as an unsuitable theory. In...
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