Equality in Peter Singer´s All Animals are Equal

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"In "All Animals Are Equal," Singer argues for the equality of all animals, on the basis of an argument by analogy with various civil rights movements, on the part of human beings. How does this argument go exactly, and what is Singer's precise conclusion? Is his argument successful? Why or why not? If you think it is successful, raise a residual potentially damaging objection, and respond on Singer's behalf (i.e., as a proponent of the position). And if not, how far does the argument go and/or how might it be improved? What has Singer taught us here, if anything?" Singer makes a three-part argument for why “All Animals Are Equal”, or at the very least should be granted equal consideration. Firstly, he argues that, assuming all humans are awarded equal rights, there is no single characteristic apart from being human that grants them such rights. Secondly, he argues that awarding rights by virtue of humanity is arbitrary and speciesist. Lastly, he argues that sentience is the only characteristic that should be considered in terms of granting animal rights. This leads him to the conclusion that “if a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration… The principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering – insofar as rough comparisons can be made – of any other being”. Before I continue, it is important to note the distinction that Singer makes between “equal considerations” and “equal treatment”. For Singer, “equal consideration for different beings may lead to different treatment and different rights”. The principle of equality “does not imply that we must treat two groups in exactly the same way, or grant exactly the same rights t... ... middle of paper ... ...egard” for animal interests to take: he implies that we should eliminate suffering, but seems fine with killing animals humanely for food. Is he then saying that the animal’s interest in preserving its life should not be regarded as highly as the utility we derive from the animal’s death, as long as the animal does not suffer? It seems that to be morally consistent, Singer should similarly oppose the killing of animals, not just the deliberate causation of their suffering. Singer’s argument is certainly persuasive. However, his argument only goes so far as to say that speciesism is arbitrary and we should replace one arbitrary measure with another – that of sentience. I think that more needs to be done to show why sentience, not any other quality, should be the defining characteristic for moral consideration. Works Cited Peter Singer, "All Animals Are Equal"
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