Essay on Moral and Ethical Obligations to Animals

Essay on Moral and Ethical Obligations to Animals

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Morality is a naturally occurring, global, psychological effect many believe is based on a human’s ability to empathise, it is thought the uncomfortable feeling of seeing another suffer pushes us to prevent the suffering. It can be viewed as the governing principal that allows us to know the difference between what is right and wrong, it drives us to act in a way which allows other beings we exist with to have a positive experience, preventing suffering. This is why irreprehensible acts such as mental abuse, physical and sexual assault and murder are considered just so irreprehensible.

The morality principal occurs in individuals to varying degrees, for example person A may dedicate their working life to helping underprivileged humans acting in a moral way towards mankind, while person B is a dedicated vegan, donates to charity and lives a lifestyle which is 100% friendly to the earth. Looking at these examples it is easy to see the differences lay in each individual’s interpretation of a being having an experience, this therefore determines their ability to empathise with humans, animals and or nature.

Knowing the rudimentary explanation of morality, ethics could almost be described as the law of morality. The word ethics is used in an abundance of contexts and therefore is described using a vast amount of different guidelines. When biomedical or behavioural research is conducted on humans, which almost is the only research conducted on humans, a specific set of laws known as ‘The Belmont Report’ demands adherence. Originating in the USA in 1979 it is now used almost worldwide, while it is a short set of laws it explicitly states the benefits of the research must outweigh any risks to the participants, each participant must b...


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Knudson, M. (1973). Development of Two-Way Communication with the Chimpanzee Washoe.American Anthropologist, 75(6), 2024--2026.
National Health and Medical Research Council,. (2013). Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition.
Regan, T. (1989). Does the Animal Kingdom Need a Bill of Rights?. Presentation, Royal Institute of Great Britain, London, UK.
Nonhumanrightsproject.org,. (2014). The Nonhuman Rights Project. Retrieved 13 May 2014, from http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org
The Nonhuman Rights Project,. (2013). First-Ever Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Captive Chimpanzees to Demand Courts Grant Them Right to Bodily Liberty.
The Nonhuman Rights Project,. (2013). Nonhuman Rights Project Advances to New York Appellate Courts in Three Chimpanzee Rights Cases.

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