Essay on Performing Animals: The Ill Treatment of Performing Orca’s in Captivity

Essay on Performing Animals: The Ill Treatment of Performing Orca’s in Captivity

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Immanuel Kant, an 18th century philosopher argues that human beings have an intrinsic worth that makes them valuable above all else, especially animals. In his argument, Kant postulated the soul as necessary for giving unity to the human person and found that it is not the human body that gives human beings their dignity, but their rationality and their status as rational beings and moral agents. Animals in Kant’s state of mind are a means to an end (the end being man) and overall have no importance. But if rationality is the key to being dignified, then animals are dignified organisms and in turn have great importance to this world than Kant gives them credit for.
Animals are rational. Based on behavioral dispositions humans have observed and studied such as hunting patterns and seasonal migration routes, animals make decisions based on their upbringing, experience, and current environment that best protect themselves just as a human would. When an Orca (the scientific name for killer whales) calf is first born, they spend approximately 10 years with their mothers learning survival techniques such as baiting their prey and following the leader of the pods direction before they venture off to begin their own family or pod. That is the same behaviors humans experience throughout their first 18 years of life. How can humans label themselves as dominant due to their ability to rationalize without including the rationality animals have that we simply do not and probably will not fully understand? The only difference between humans and other species are the direction of evolution taken to get us to where we are now. Eons ago, we humans had tails that aided in our survival momentarily just as whales had feet that aided in their survi...

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...ment in technology and economic shifts tune out. In the wild, orcas are peaceful examples of the beauty of life and its multiple mechanisms that contributes to its continuation. They go on living their lives without ever interfering with our own yet we have on multiple occasions disrupted their own. This now raises the question on whether Kant was accurate in his theory that humans are the sole rational agents present on this Earth because their actions and lack of consideration for the role, presence, dignity and meaning animals such as Orcas have on Earth also.

Works Cited

Rachels, James. "Kantian Theory: The Idea of Human Dignity." The Elements of Moral Philosophy (1986): 114-23. Print.
"Blackfish - Seaworld Bites Back." Blackfish Official Film Site. N.p., 15 July 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. .

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