Among the most glaring problems that I see with Utilitarianism is its inclusion of animals under the umbrella that blankets this theory. It seems irrefutable that there exists an inordinate number of cases where the consequence that is against the best interest of an animal is favorable to humans, yet that dictating action is one that has been continually taken and condoned by the general public. This is a fundamental challenge, as the Utilitarian philosophy decrees that the pleasure and pain experienced by all individuals, including animals, has equal worth and must be considered when determining the net benefit of an action's consequences.
The most drastic and prevalent of examples that one could provide to illustrate this contradiction would be the practice of using animals to provide food. It cannot be argued that it is in the best interest of a cow, a chicken, or another animal to be slaughtered to serve the dietary needs of mankind. Accordingly, Utilitarian reasoning suggests, in direct opposition to the intuition of humanity, that it is morally impermissible to kill the animals. While a Utilitarian philosopher might provide the counter-argument that such is natural order of the world that there exist a hierarchical food tree. Further they would insist that the greater good is that humans be nourished and provided for by the meat, for our pleasure is superior in quality to that of the beast. This reasoning, however, is flawed in two ways. Initially, the method by which meat finds its way to grocery stores for our purchase and eventual consumption is not one governed by the ways of nature, but rather is one engineered for efficiency by humans. Animals are bread forcibly, then nourished with specific intent of managing fat content, meat flavor, and healthiness, each of which discounts the Utilitarian claim that nature makes our carnivorous methods ethically permissible. Secondly, and perhaps more fundamentally, such a claim is in direct...
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