This argument states that animals are not members of the 'moral community'. A moral community is a group of beings who live in relationship with each other and use and understand moral concepts and rules the members of this community can respect each other as moral persons the members of this community respect each other's autonomy human beings do display these characteristics and are therefore members of the 'moral community' animals do not display these characteristics and are therefore not members of the 'moral community' most people would agree with this: All non-human animals lack the capacity for free moral judgment. Therefore, non-human animals do not have moral rights.
There is one issue related to equality in which philosophers have led, rather than followed, a social movement. In the early s, a group of young Oxford-based philosophers began to question the assumption that the moral status of nonhuman animals is automatically inferior to… Philosophical background The proper treatment of animals is a very old question in the West.
Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers debated the place of animals in human morality. In his biological writings, Aristotle — bce repeatedly suggested that animals lived for their own sake, but his claim in the Politics that nature made all animals for the sake of humans was unfortunately destined to become his most influential statement on the subject.
Aristotle, and later the Stoicsbelieved the world was populated by an infinity of beings arranged hierarchically according to their complexity and perfection, from the barely living to the merely sentientthe rational, and the wholly spiritual.
In this Great Chain of Beingas it came to be known, all forms of life Animals rights represented as existing for the sake of those forms higher in the chain. Among corporeal beings, humans, by dint of their rationality, occupied the highest position. The Great Chain of Being became one of the most persistent and powerful, if utterly erroneousways of conceiving the universe, dominating scientific, philosophical, and religious thinking until the middle of the 19th century.
The Stoicsinsisting on the irrationality of all nonhuman animals, regarded them as slaves and accordingly treated them as contemptible and beneath notice. Aggressively advocated by St. Augustine —these Stoic ideas became embedded in Christian theology. They were absorbed wholesale into Roman law—as reflected in the treatises and codifications of Gaius fl.
Meanwhile, arguments that urged respect for the interests of animals nearly disappeared, and animal welfare remained a relative backwater of philosophical inquiry and legal regulation until the final decades of the 20th century. Repeating the phrase, P.
They exist in the law solely as the objects of the rights of legal persons—e. This status, however, often affords animals the indirect protection of laws intended to preserve social morality or the rights of animal owners, such as criminal anticruelty statutes or civil statutes that permit owners to obtain compensation for damages inflicted on their animals.
A legal thing can become a legal person; this happened whenever human slaves were freed. The former legal thing then possesses his own legal rights and remedies. Parallels have frequently been drawn between the legal status of animals and that of human slaves. This parallel persisted in the similarity of naming slaves, branding them, and even pricing them according to their equivalent in cowscamelspigsand chickens.
In the most renowned abolitionist of the period, William Wilberforcesupported a bill to abolish bull- and bearbaiting, which was defeated in the House of Commons.
In Baron Erskineformer lord chancellor of England, who had long been troubled by cruelty to animalsintroduced a bill to prohibit cruelty to all domestic animals. However, it did not protect the general welfare of even these animals, much less give them legal rights, and the worst punishment available for any breach was a modest fine.
Similar statutes were enacted in all the states of the United States, where there now exists a patchwork of anticruelty and animal-welfare laws. Most states today make at least some abuses of animals a felony.
Laws such as the federal Animal Welfare Actfor example, regulate what humans may do to animals in agriculture, biomedical research, entertainment, and other areas. This situation changed inwhen the Spanish national parliament adopted resolutions urging the government to grant orangutanschimpanzeesand gorillas some statutory rights previously afforded only to humans.
The resolutions also called for banning the use of apes in performances, harmful research, and trading as well as in other practices that involve profiting from the animals. The modern animal rights movement The fundamental principle of the modern animal rights movement is that many nonhuman animals have basic interests that deserve recognition, consideration, and protection.
In the view of animal rights advocates, these basic interests give the animals that have them both moral and legal rights. It has been said that the modern animal rights movement is the first social reform movement initiated by philosophers.
The Australian philosopher Peter Singer and the American philosopher Tom Regan deserve special mention, not just because their work has been influential but because they represent two major currents of philosophical thought regarding the moral rights of animals.
A utilitarian, Singer holds that actions are morally right to the extent that they maximize pleasure or minimize pain; the key consideration is whether an animal is sentient and can therefore suffer pain or experience pleasure. Regan, who is not a utilitarian, argues that at least some animals have basic moral rights because they possess the same advanced cognitive abilities that justify the attribution of basic moral rights to humans.
By virtue of these abilities, these animals have not just instrumental but inherent value. Some religious authors argue that animals are not as deserving of moral consideration as humans are because only humans possess an immortal soul.
Others claim, as did the Stoics, that because animals are irrational, humans have no duties toward them. Still others locate the morally relevant difference between humans and animals in the ability to talk, the possession of free willor membership in a moral community a community whose members are capable of acting morally or immorally.
The problem with these counterarguments is that, with the exception of the theological argument—which cannot be demonstrated—none differentiates all humans from all animals. While philosophers catalyzed the modern animal rights movement, they were soon joined by physicians, writers, scientists, academics, lawyers, theologians, psychologists, nurses, veterinarians, and other professionals, who worked within their own fields to promote animal rights.
Many professional organizations were established to educate colleagues and the general public regarding the exploitation of animals. At the beginning of the 21st century, lawsuits in the interests of nonhuman animals, sometimes with nonhuman animals named as plaintiffs, became common.Use these resources to learn important facts about animal rights, laws, issues, and activism focusing on the treatment and mistreatment of animals worldwide.
Animal Rights. Protection of animals from cruelty through requirements of humane treatment.
Laws protecting animal rights proscribe certain forms of brutal and merciless treatment of animals in medical and scientific research and in the handling of and slaughter of animals for human consumption. Animal Rights – The right of animals to be free from exploitation, domination and abuse by humans.
Domesticated and Feral Animals – Domesticated: Trained or adapted to be of use to humans. Feral: Returned to an untamed state after domestication.
Animal Rights. Protection of animals from cruelty through requirements of humane treatment. Laws protecting animal rights proscribe certain forms of brutal and merciless treatment of animals in medical and scientific research and in the handling of and slaughter of animals for human consumption.
Oct 27, · The term animal rights refers to any action or belief regarding non-human creatures that a person or society sees as proper, moral or legal.
People often use the term in reference to the movement toward protecting all living things from human exploitation and abuse. This movement supports the idea. Animal rights is not just a philosophy—it is a social movement that challenges society’s traditional view that all nonhuman animals exist solely for human use.
As PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.