This paper will be organized into three main sections. The first section “Background Information” will introduce the broader subject of animal ethics. The second section, “The Argument,” will begin by presenting arguments from philosophers, including Rene Descartes and Thomas Aquinas. In this section, I will discuss why these philosophers refuse to give non-human animals a moral status. Next, I will be supporting the second premise by appealing to recent examples in the animal kingdom, and by referring to arguments from Peter Singer and Robert Garner. Finally, I will conclude in the final section, “Conclusion,” by asserting that because humans and animals have a lack of relevant differences (with respect to what makes humans moral beings), animals do have a moral status.
So, what does the animal ethics issue deal with? First, there are still many problems with the way we treat animals today. It is not an exaggeration, as some say, when animal rights activists point out that humans submit animals to unimaginable atrocities. To test for the safety of a shampoo, for example, rats are subject to ex...
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...als may not have exactly the same emotions and interests as humans, but their respective properties must be taken into consideration because every life form must be treated with respect.
Finally, as a way to wrap up this paper, I will appeal to a video from Chile that involves a stray dog rescuing a second stray dog (“Hero Dog”). In this video, a dog spots another dog who had been hit by a car. The dog goes to the middle of the highway and attempts to help the injured dog by using its front paws to drag it to the side of the highway and into safety. The dog had no benefit in helping the second dog. In fact, it put itself in danger because it was crossing a busy highway and could have been hit. Therefore, the dog went above its basic instinct (contrary to Aquinas’s argument that non-human animals act on pure instinct). What can this “hero” dog’s behavior tell us?
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