In this paper, I will argue that even though Animal Rights Theory is more successful in expressing the grounds of animal’s value of life compared with Utilitarian Theory of Peter Singer, neither of the theories is successful in appreciating the animal’s value of life. In the first part of the paper, I will mention the major arguments of Singer’s Utilitarian Theory of Animal Rights. Then under The Relationship between Interests and the Capacities sub-title I will try to explain why Singer does not have persuasive utilitarian grounds to disvalue the lives of non-self-conscious beings. I will continue with the criticisms about the replaceability argument. Lastly, by referring to Regan’s criticisms I will stress that even though Singer tries to synthesize his anti- speciesist arguments with his utilitarian theory, there is a tension between them.
In the second part of the paper, I will summarize the arguments of Tom Regan’s Animal Rights Theory. Firstly, under The Value of Life sub-title I will mention why Animal Rights Theory is more successful compared with Singer’s Utilitarian Theory of Animal Rights in terms of appreciating the animal’s value of life. Secondly I will mention criticisms of Steven Davis about the fallacy of the presumptions of Animal Rights Theory.
2. Singer’s Utilitarian Theory of Animal Rights
According to classical utilitarianism, actions are right if they tend to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Therefore, one ought to live in such a way that one contributes as little as possible to the total amount of suffering in the world and as much as possible to the world’s total happiness.1 However Singer claims to subscribe a modified form of utilitarianism called preference or interest utilitarianism according to which the morally appropriate act in any particular situation is the one that will maximize the interests of those that will be affected. These interests
References: Irvin, Sherri Capacities, Context and the Moral Status of Animals, Journal of Applied Philosophy 21, (2004): 5 Johnson, Edward, Life, Death and Animals in Animal Rights and Human Obligations, ed Kemmerer, L.A., Peter Singer on Exendability, Between the Species 6, (August 2007) : 2 Lamey, Andy, Food Fight, David versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef, Journal of Social Philosophy 38, No Palmer, Clare & P. Sandøe (2011): Chapter 1: Animal ethics. Animal Welfare. 2nd edition. M. C. Appleby, J. A. Mench, I.A.S. Olsson & B. O. Hughes (Eds.),4, Regan, Tom, The Case of Animal Rights, In Defense of Animals, ed Regan, Tom, Utilitarianism, Vegetarianism and Animal Rights, Philosophy and Public Affairs 9, No.4, (Summer, 1980) Singer, Peter, Down on the Factory Farm, The Case Against Raising and Killing Animals for Food in Animal Rights and Human Obligations, ed Singer, Peter, "All Animals Are Equal," in Animal Rights and Human Obligations, ed. Tom Regan, Peter Singer, (New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1989 Singer, Peter, Animals and the Value of Life in Matters of Life and Death, ed Singer, Peter, Taking Life Animals in Practical Ethics, Cambridge, 1993