Peter Singer Essay Peter Singer and his philosophy have received a range of praise and criticism for his progressive views. Some have called him the most dangerous man In the world, while others consider him a hero in the teachings of morality and ethics. HIS detractors make mention of his views on Animal Equality, blasting his comparisons of modern man’s treatment of animals to that of; slavery the Holocaust, human suffering and Infanticide.
Singer’s essay, All Animals Are Equal, poses the argument that all sentiment beings are entitled to the most basic of deletes and consideration, no efferent than those considerations reserved for humans. Singer draws no line of adolescently between our species and other species who we, as humans often view as resources. Morality Is hard, and living In an Industrialized country, namely America today, makes It that much more difficult.
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Singer receives harsh criticisms and even death threats for his stances on these issues of morality, but as Singer continues to ask the hard questions and walk the walk, he may become just a footnote in history, or the most important Philosopher or our generation. To understand Singers view on Animal Equality, one must do away with all the pre-conceived notions of animals in our lives and the role they play in our yards, pastures and on our dinner table.
Animals and our understanding of their functionality, processing skills and sentient capabilities has evolved and we now know, that many of the animals that we use for food do indeed have the capacity to feel many of the same feelings that we humans share. Chickens, pigs and cattle, are the most common critter brought to our table for consumption and all three have the ability to socialize, feel and most importantly, to suffer.
Singer asserts that if we see no distinction between the lower functioning members of our human society and those of average of higher mental capabilities and their entitlement to be free of suffering on moral grounds, than we should not see animals any differently. This argument tends to be the line of demarcation between those who can see past the differences in species and those who can not. The argument often leads to debate on whether we should even consider the suffering of humans as comparable to that of animals.
The term species, or the belief that our species Is superior, and Hereford exploit the other species for our own gain, Is often used to describe the attitude of the vast majority of humans today. While some may take offense to the notion of comparing human suffering to that of animal suffering, Singer makes a valid argument when he reminds us that not long ago other races were treated comparable to the way we treat our animals. Colonizers eradicated and enslaved entire populaces with little or no moral consideration due to their differences.
Although anatomically human: skin color, language, hair and eye color have been used as reasons to disregard basic moral principles in regards to suffering. The Egyptians iconic pyramids, the massacre of indigenous tribes all throughout the moral failures of historic proportions due to anatomic differences. As our study and understanding of these animals continues to grow, should we reexamine our prejudices’ or should we even have to, when we already know that the animal, Just as you and l, suffers when maltreated, regardless of our differences in appearance and species.
In that regard, we are all animals and all deserve equal treatment and be free of the suffering we allow, if not promote, through our passiveness and practices – Each of which, should make no difference in moral and ethical culpability. While Singers emphasis revolves around the morality of species, the animal equality issue has serious connotations to our growing environmental issues. The industrialization of our meat and food industry has obliterated the notion of Old McDonald’s farm and replaced it with scenes that are deplorable by any morally Just person’s standards.
These large animal farms, that I have personal experience with (Cockade Egg farms in Paso Washington) produce an estimated 18 percent of roundhouse gas emissions. That share is larger than that produced by transportation. That statistic should be coupled with the fact that for every six pounds of grain fed to livestock and poultry, we receive in return, one pound of food (Singer). Part of the reason why I get poised off every time I see a new shiny, One Cent Penny, is because I am aware that the cost of making the damned thing is more than it is worth.
If the fact that we are so wasteful in a practice that is so morally flawed in standard industry practices, we should be appalled at the fare on our tables? The ethics of our waste and maltreatment of animals is as acrobatic of practice as I can think of in today’s world, with as little pushball seen from the general masses. Singer states, “If we do not change our dietary habits, how can we censure those slaveholders who would not change their way of living? ” Changing our diet is tough no doubt.
Envisioning a life without meat is very difficult for me but in my household, a concerted effort is made to purchase free range, organic and humanely treated animal products. Where Singer see’s no need for meat in a diet that can be plummeted with non-animal products for nutrition, I feel that the separation created is too much too soon for most Americans and other industrialized nations. Singer does aptly point out though, that “Our custom is all the support that the meat- industry needs.
The decision to cease giving it that support may be difficult, but it is no more difficult than it would have been for a white southerner to go against the traditions of his society and free his slaves. ” (Peggy) I wish we had the same opinions that millions seemed to share when famous football star Michael Vic’s exploits in dog fighting was made public. Why is it okay to treat a pig or cow no different than Michael Vicki did. I am for one not certain that I can completely cut out meat at this Juncture of my life, a sentiment shared by many.
Singer has however convinced me that in order to further evolve and remain on the right side of morality, we must change the way we view animals of all species and significantly alter what we have learned to accept at face value. The practicality of Singers suggestions are plausible if we consider what we are asking, and if it has been done before. If we are to give credence to the notion of pessimism as we have with civil rights, women’s rights and the recent progress in gay rights, than surely yes, we may see Animals obtain the decency due.