Please be patient while it loads! The zip-file will automatically uncompress and you can view it offline on your browser. A selected bibliography from mainstream journals with sample quotations This page will provide you with source references that you can cut and paste.
Most people agree that animals have at least some moral status — that is why it is wrong to abuse pets or needlessly hurt other animals. This alone represents a shift from a past view where animals had no moral status and treating an animal well was more about maintaining human standards of dignity than respecting any innate rights of the animal.
In modern times, the question has shifted from whether animals have moral status to how much moral status they have and what rights come with that status. The strongest pro animal rights answer to this question would be that non-human animals have exactly the same moral status as humans and are entitled to equal treatment.
The ethicists who endorse this position do not mean that animals are entitled to the very same treatment as humans; arguing that animals should have the right to vote or hold office is clearly absurd. The claim is that animals should be afforded the same level of respectful treatment as humans; in short, we should not have the right to kill animals, force them into our service, or otherwise treat them merely as means to further our own goals.
One common form of this argument claims that moral status comes from the capacity to suffer or to enjoy life. In respect to his capacity, many animals are no different than humans.
They can feel pain and experience pleasure.
Therefore, they should have the same moral status and deserve equal treatment. However, we look upon past examples of this behavior as morally condemnable. Being of a particular race or gender does not give one any grounds for declaring outsiders to be of a lower moral status.
Many animal rights advocates argue similarly—that just because we are human is not sufficient grounds to declare animals less morally significant. The first step in making that argument is to show that humans are more important than animals.
Below, I will outline one of the more common arguments used to reach this conclusion. Some philosophers advocate the idea of a moral community. Roughly speaking, this is a group of individuals who all share certain traits in common.
By sharing these traits, they belong to a particular moral community and thus take on certain responsibilities toward each other and assume specific rights. Although a moral community could theoretically include animals, it frequently does not. The human moral community, for instance, is often characterized by a capacity to manipulate abstract concepts and by personal autonomy.
Since most animals do not have the cognitive capabilities of humans and also do not seem to possess full autonomy animals do not rationally choose to pursue specific life goalsthey are not included in the moral community.
Once animals have been excluded from the moral community, humans have only a limited obligation towards them; on this argument, we certainly would not need to grant animals all normal human rights. If animals do not have the same rights as humans, it becomes permissible to use them for research purposes.
Under this view, the ways in which experimentation might harm the animal are less morally significant than the potential human benefits from the research.
One problem with this type of argument is that many humans themselves do not actually fulfill the criteria for belonging to the human moral community.The New York City Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association have released this guide jointly to help clarify the legal rights and obligations involving the use of service animals in the state.
Animals, from the fruit fly to the mouse, are widely used in scientific research. They are crucial for allowing scientists to learn more about human biology and health, and for developing new medicines. The use of animals in scientific research has long been the subject of heated debate.
On the one. Opinions about the use of animals for research are complicated and often divided when it comes to different purposes or types of research. For instance, a clear majority of people are against the use of animals for testing cosmetics and personal care products. “The Animal Research War is a lively, occasionally terrifying account of the assault on animal research that will interest non-researchers and researchers alike, and will be illustrative to those in law enforcement and public affairs and to the media reporting on this topic.” Many medical research institutions make use of non-human animals as test subjects.
Animals may be subject to experimentation or modified into conditions useful for gaining knowledge about human disease or for testing potential human treatments.
But at a nutrition conference I attended earlier this month, an audience of plus nutrition researchers and veterinary professionals was treated to a strong argument in favor of dogs as carnivores.