All Animals Are Equal

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Singer is a utilitarian, because as a utilitarian he says that the best outcome is the one that results a in the best pleasure to the maximum amount of people, and the word people means only humans. He is trying to argue that animals and humans should not have equal rights because simply they are from different species and there are differences between species.

Peter Singer’s aim is to advocate that we make this mental switch in our attitudes and practices towards a very large group of being, and he defines “being” as members of species other than our own.” He argues that we popularly misleading calling them animals. He urges that we extend to other species the basic principle of equality that the most of us recognize should be extended to all member of our own species.

But there is an important point that must be clarified, okay Singer is a utilitarian but does this mean that animals for example don’t feel pain or happiness? Of course not! This is the main point of his argument. He believes that animals have interest as humans do and humans should try to extend rights to include other species too. He is not trying to say that humans and animals should be treated exactly the same but we should consider animals interests also. For a being to have interests means that they have the ability to enjoy life and also suffer, here, peter points that also animals would have an interest in not to suffer. For sure animals feel pain, we can see that from their reactions when for example we accidently step on a dog’s tail.

Despite of all that, humans let their own interests to take a priority over all other species. The fact that we eat animals, shows that we see them as nothing more mere to their ends, and by doing this we cause additional suffering to animals. And we can say that this kind of true because we have other nutritional to eat and meet our needs.
.” All of this may seem like a parody of our liberation movements than a serious objective, in face in the past, the rights of animals really has been a parody of women’s rights”. Women are rational and they are capable to make decisions as men, while dogs are incapable of understanding the significance of voting so they cant have the right to vote. In this case for equality between men and women cant be extended to non human animals. So we can say that men and women are similar beings so they should have equal rights while humans and non human are not similar and should not equally have rights

Singer argues that if the demand of equality were based on the actual equality of all human beings we would have to stop demanding equality. It is an unjustifiable demanding. Because we must face the fact that human beings come in different shapes and sizes, different moral capacities, differing intellectual capabilities, differing amount of benevolent feeling and sensitivity for the feeling of others, different abilities to communicate with others, and different capacities in discovering pleasure and pain.

It’s significant that the problem of equality, in moral and political philosophy is formulated in terms of human equality. However, it is difficult to discuss the human equality without raising. The reason behind this, is that if humans are to be regarded as equal to one another we need some sense of equal that does not require any actual, descriptive equality of capacities, talents, or other equalities.

“Homo sapiens this category includes infants and even mental defectives , but it excludes those other beings with equal or greater capacity”. For example, we cannot make medical experiments on this category of people but in reality we do on animals! Peter argues that if we cannot experiment on this category then we shouldn’t also experiment on animals. Furthermore, killing animals for the reason to eat for food would be the same as killing these humans for food. Singer’s opinion is that instead of treating defective infants that don’t stand a chance we should use them to test medical treatment.

Tom Regan has different concepts to be clarified: subject of a life, moral agents and moral patients. Firstly, he explains his concept of “subject of a life” which clarifies that “those individuals who have beliefs and desires, emotional life, and a psychological identity over time, a definition that applies clearly to normal adults mammals. most important attribute all humans have in common is they have a life ,they are simply the subject of life, this means that we shouldn’t be treated as mere means to end by others.”

The difference between moral agents and moral patients is that, moral agents “are individuals who have a variety of sophisticated abilities, including in particular the ability to bring impartial moral principle to bear on the determination of what, all considered, morally ought to be done and, having made this determination to freely choose or fail to choose act as morality as they conceive it requires.” Because moral agents have these abilities its fair to hold them morally accountable for their actions assuming that circumstances of their acting do not dictate otherwise. Moral patients” lack prerequisites that would enable them to control their own behavior in ways that would make them morally accountable for what they do, they lack the ability to formulate they cant do what is right nor can they do what is wrong, even when they cause a significant harm to another they have not done what is wrong only moral agents can do what is wrong.”

Regan also discusses something that called inherent value, which means the individual has value in him/herself, all who have inherent value have it equally whether they are moral agents or moral patients. It enjoins us to treat all those individuals that have inherent value in ways that respect their value, and thus it requires respectful treatment for all who satisfy the subject of life criterion whether they are moral agents or patients we must treat them in a way that respects their equal inherent value.
But also animals are subject to life too, so some animals have same inherent value and same basic rights as moral agents, Harming these animals in experiments and by eating them, can’t be justified by the consequences for all affected.

For example, in the case for animal rights, Regan posits a life boat with four humans and one dog vying for space. If one being must go overboard, Regan concludes that the dog ought always and perpetually to go overboard. But this assertion is not consistent with Regan’s Rights View with regard to loss of innocence.
Furthermore, Regan clearly asserts that animals are always innocent moral patients. Consequently, dogs, cats and any other animal, cannot ever jeopardize their chance for a spot on the lifeboat by loss of innocence. They are always innocent. Meanwhile, humans are almost always guilty of treating other animals as if they did not have equal inherent value thereby forfeiting their place on the raft to their innocent victims—other animals. In any and all scenarios, humans are likely to have jeopardized their innocence in relation to other species, while other than human animals always remain inherently innocent.

Its not a way of kindness to treat animals respectfully, its an act of justice, its not the sentimental interests of moral agents that grounds our duties of justice to other moral patients including animals, it is respect for their inherent value.

The miniride and worse-off principle.The right view is to have any claim on our rational assent, it must provide guidance in those cases where you are required to choose between harming the few or harming the many who are innocent. There are two types of harming, first one is inflictions which diminish the quality of human’s life they will usually deprive human satisfaction because they detract directly from individual’s welfare. Second one is deprivations, those that deny an individual’s opportunities for doing things that will bring satisfaction when its in the individual’s interests. The right view can formulate two principles that can help in order to make decisions in those cases:

The Miniride Principle

“When we must choose between overriding the rights of many who are innocent, and override the rights of few who are innocent too, then we ought to choose override the few in preference of to override the rights many ones. This principle applies only in prevention cases where harms are prima facie comparable. In other words, if all are going to be harmed in the same degree we should minimize the number of individuals harmed.”

The Worse off Principle

“When we must choose between overriding the rights of many who are innocent, and override the rights of few who are innocent too, and when the harm of the few will make them worse off than any of the many will be if any other option will be chosen then we ought to override the rights of the many. In other words, if individuals are going to be harmmd in different degrees then we should choose the individual who has least to lose.”

As we discussed before, utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility, which is usually defined as that which produces the greatest well-being of the greatest number of people, and in some cases, sentient animals, whether actions are morally right or wrong depends on their effects.
So as a utilitarian, as long as both principles end up with losses, I should look at the loss which doesn’t affect my utility regardless the amount of loss. The miniride principle is against utilitarianism because it only minimizes the loss it doesn’t maximize any utility. So, in my opinion, I regard that the worse-off principle has greater utility because it chooses the ones who have least to lose, so their loss will result in less bad effects.


Cite this paper

All Animals Are Equal. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/all-animals-are-equal/



Is all animals are equal a paradox?
Explanation: As a literary device, a paradox is a set of two or more contradictory concepts that, when considered, reveal a hidden meaning or truth. The quote "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" is a good example of paradox . Equality means that everyone is on the same level.
What does Animal Farm say about equality?
Animal Farm is a story that demonstrates the dangers of equality. The novel shows how an egalitarian society can lead to corruption and tyranny.
Who said all animals are equal?
"All animals are equal" is a quote often attributed to George Orwell.
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