Nonhuman Animals Are Moral Standing Essay

Nonhuman Animals Are Moral Standing Essay

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2. Before this week’s lesson, I had never given any consideration to whether or not nonhuman animals had any moral standing. Prior to this class, if asked whether I thought they did or not, I most likely would have said that I do not feel they do; however, after serious consideration, I would now have to say that I do think that nonhuman animals have moral standing. At least some of them do.
I feel that some animals are more capable of acting morally than others. Many animals act simply out of natural impulse or training, but I do feel that there are some that are capable of doing something simply because they feel that it is right. For example, a lion acts out of innate instinct. For them, they do not kill a gazelle because it is moral or not, but because they are hungry and need to survive. They would not refuse to kill something because it was the wrong thing to do, but merely because there was no reason to.
An ape, on the other hand, I feel is capable of doing something because they have a sense that it is right. They may not be able to cognitively understand morality or ethical behavior, but they can do things to please others.
I am not sure exactly what sets some apart from others. I would say that as an animal becomes closer to humans on the DNA ladder, they are more capable of having a moral standing.




3. If a person was given a vaccine so that they could never feel pain again, I would say that they are still due moral concern. What if a person was to hit them with a car and then leave the scene – something I would consider to be an immoral? Just because they cannot feel the pain, that does not make the act committed against them moral or right. I feel, much like Tom Regan, that a being needs only to be ...


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...e and endangerment. Why? Because it is immoral and harming a life. However, Kantian views of moral agency state that this infant is not due moral concern, therefore, by following this theory, I would be considered to be acting morally by allowing my child to starve.
The law obviously disagrees with the Kantian notion that only those who can reason are worthy of moral concern. Regulations are put into place to protect the young, the old, animals, and mentally disabled. In my opinion, they are created to protect the most vulnerable in our society and those who are, perhaps, due a greater amount of moral concern because of their defenselessness. For this reason, I believe the utilitarian belief system is better than that of the Kantian philosophy because the utilitarian concept of moral agency holds that anything that has the ability to suffer is due moral concern.

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