Our Duties to Animals and the Poor

1396 Words6 Pages
In this essay, I will discuss if our actions towards animals are immoral. McGinn discusses his reasons shortly, assuming that he is correct. He claims that, “we have a moral duty to relieve the suffering, and cease the killing, of the animals with which we have dealings” (McGinn 150). This is the structure of his argument:

(1) It is morally wrong to cause the suffering and death of animals unnecessarily

(2) We do cause the suffering of and death of animals unnecessarily.


(3) What we do to animals is morally wrong.

As my thesis, I will reject his claim, and his arguments that support such claim; I shall call his allegation “Claim X”. Though objecting to this claim seems intuitively horrendous, I belief that his argument does not demonstrate the correct grounds for readers to be able to empathize with his views. In this paper, I will critically object to McGinn’s fundamental argument, by illustrating the flaws of his supporting claims. After his supporting claims are seen as fallacious, I shall demystify such key argument. Finally, to finish on a good note, I will propose an alternative view on the matter.

To start, I want to first define the terms, as he has on his article. By the term “suffering”, McGinn defines them as the following: “Eating meat, hunting, vivisection, and fur coats, and the like” (McGinns 151). For “the like”, I propose he meant, other activities such as owning animals, using them for entertainment, or work. To support his argument, he poses the following three points. First, he asserts that our uses of animals do not justify our means. Second, he believes that it is our moral duty to not cause any unnecessary suffering on animals. Third and last, he claims that it is erroneous to think of a...

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... destroy the environment by destroying the animals. If it is our moral duty to preserve the environment, then it is our moral duty to preserve the species that come with it. Therefore, it is morally incorrect to allow those species to be used as production material.

Wrapping up, McGinn’s “Claim X” fails, it is not our duty to relieve the suffering and stop the killing of animals, which we have dealings with. “Claim X” fails because, McGinn’s supporting points do not have enough strength to support the three-premise argument. Since the argument for “Claim X” is not sustained, we are susceptible to believe that our duty towards animals end when we restrain from abusive, violent, or destructive behavior; but not when animals provide us with benefits that are intrinsic to them. In conclusion, our current interactions with animals do not portray an immoral behavior.
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