Animal Rights Essay Research Paper Nonhuman animals — страница 2

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animal’s ability to feel the sensation of pain is not reason enough to grant it rights. In the case of an infant, we are willing to grant the child rights not based on the fact that she or he can feel pain, but because that child’s parents would be upset. The child is a part of a larger whole, a member of society and a family that care for them. In defense of her own training of animals Hearne states that we are willing to grant her Airedale rights “for his capacity to scream when subjected to a blowtorch but not for his wit and courage, not for his natural good manners that are a gentle rebuke to ours” (61). Another point brought up by Hearne is that children, just like dogs, “have almost no unconscious minds, so they can learn only by thinking” (63). She goes on to

say that it isn’t until these children are educated for many years that they are able to understand their ability. Animals do not deserve rights simply for inhabiting the earth with us. Non-human animals have no concept of morality thus they should not be guaranteed rights. According to John Chipman Gray animals do not deserve rights because they are “incapable of being moral subjects,” Animals cannot be “reasoned with” or instructed in their responsibilities; they are inflexible and unadaptable to future contingencies; they are subject to fits of instinctive passion which they are incapable of repressing or controlling, postponing or sublimating. (182) Joel Feinberg agrees that “animals are incapable of claiming rights on their own” (182). Since morality is a human

concept and animals are unable to engage in conversation, animals lack the ability to coherently express a desire for their own personal rights. Though this may be a barrier that is a result of human’s inability to understand the needs of animals, it is because of this lack of communication of needs that animals do not simply require rights. Animals are unable to engage in agreements or act in a moral way that distinguishes right from wrong. Non-human animals do not have the ability to recognize when or if their rights are being violated. Simply by reacting to pain an animal does not necessarily mean that the animal is aware that something morally wrong is being done to it. Since animals are unable to understand when their rights have been violated or if they have been violated

at all they cannot bring about any action to change such activity. Non-human animals are unable to even conceive a sense of what is right and there is nothing that they themselves can do to prevent their rights from being violated. Only through humans speaking on behalf of an animal does an animal gain rights. But, should an animal deserve rights because a human being can speak on behalf of it? I hardly think so. Unlike animals, even an intellectually challenged human has the ability to enter or leave an agreement. Since animals are unable to assert their needs and defend their own rights they need a human to act as a tool to see to it that the rights of the animal is protected. Feinberg goes on to say that those that are deserving of rights are those that can or have the ability

to have interests (184). Feinberg continues with two qualifications of a being deserving of rights: 1.) they must be able to be represented further, it is impossible to represent a being that has no interests, and 2.) “because a right holder must be capable of being a beneficiary in his own person, and a being without interests is a being that is incapable of being harmed?”(184). The argument may be made that shouldn’t animals be considered to have a right to moral consideration based on the fact that they have intrinsic value in themselves? No, animals do not have intrinsic value in themselves. They are only given importance through human’s interaction with them and thus have instrumental value for humans. As Feinberg argues, “?we do have duties to protect threatened

species; not duties to the species themselves as such, but rather duties to future human beings, duties derived from our housekeeping role as temporary inhabitants of this planet?”(185). As such, animals only have value because human beings have given them worth and are not deserving of moral consideration. Humans do not have any moral obligation to animals themselves, but rather, have a moral duty through animals to other human beings. Non-human animals are not deserving of rights because they have no ability to understand the concept of morality, or even distinguish between right and wrong. Because animals lack the ability to engage in agreements, or recognize when their rights have been violated, and possess no sense of morality they are not deserving of moral consideration