Nonhuman Animal Rights Essay

Nonhuman Animal Rights Essay

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In regards to animals, the issue of rights and whether they exist becomes a touchy subject. In the essay, “Nonhuman Animal Rights: Sorely Neglected,” author Tom Regan asserts that animals have rights based upon inherent value of experiencing subjects of a life. Regan’s argument will first be expressed, later explained, and evaluated in further detail. Lastly, that fact that Regan thinks rights are harbored under the circumstance of being an experiencing subject of a life will also be discussed in terms of the incapacitated, etc.
Regan positively argues that both human and nonhuman individuals are experiencing subjects of a life. Experiencing subjects of a life have an inherent value, which is nevertheless, equal among the populace. One’s usefulness is not a factor in regards to one’s inherent value, and they have an equal right to be treated with respect. Nonhumans have rights based upon denoted inherent value, thus the use of the individual in an exploitive manner, compromises the moral foundation of rights.
Regan claims that both human and nonhuman individuals are experiencing subjects of a life. Basically, if something is “a conscious creature having an individual welfare” (Regan 69), then it is a subject of a life. The usefulness of said individual is not important in this instance but will be further discussed. Utility is unimportant in the grand scheme of the moral equality of value. Regan argues that subjects of a life “want and prefer things, believe and feel things, recall and expect things…all make a difference to the quality of our life…they [animals] too must be viewed as the experiencing subjects of a life, with inherent value of their own” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Individuals and animals are not diffe...


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... fact that the subjects of a life claim draws nonhumans into the view of having rights morally, Regan inadvertently sections some of the humans off of this foundation. In an attempt to expand his view on what deserves rights, he may have just narrowed the field at the same time. Regan sums up worth and rights with his abstract view of inherent value. How is said value measured? Although some areas of Regan’s argument seem a bit fuzzy, his attempt to align rights to more than just humans is satisfying.



Works Cited

"The Moral Status of Animals." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford
University, 13 Sep 2010, Web. 23 Feb 2012. < http://plato.stanford.edu/
entries/moral-animal/>.
Regan, Tom. “Nonhuman Animal Rights: Sorely Neglected.” You Decide!: Current
Debates in Contemporary Moral Problems. Ed. Bruce N. Walker. New York: Pearson, 2006. 64-71.

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