Essay Sample on Animal Ethics

Published: 2022-12-15
Essay Sample on Animal Ethics
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Animals Philosophers Immanuel Kant Ethical dilemma
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1692 words
15 min read

Utilitarianism represents an ethical theory which determines what is right from what is wrong through focusing on the results. Thus utilitarianism is generally perceived as being a form of consequentialism. Utilitarianism emphasizes typically that the most ethical choice is the one which produces the greatest good that will benefit the most significant number of individuals. Utilitarianism is seen as the only moral framework which may be used in justifying war or use of military force. Utilitarianism is also a representative theory which is most familiar to moral reasoning which may be utilized in the business as a result of the way from which it may provide an account for the experienced benefits and costs. However, Utilitarianism may not be used in predicting the future since it is hard for one to understand with certainty explaining if the impacts of people's actions will be adverse or good. Additionally, Utilitarianism faces difficulties when it comes to accounting for values like individual rights and justice. Therefore, even though the Utilitarianism theory has been identified as the approach that is most reason-based in determining what is wrong and evil, it is faced with some limitations.

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Virtue ethics is among the major theories in normative ethics. Virtue ethics is usually identified as being an approach which emphasizes that moral character or virtues in contrast to the method which focuses on rules or duties or the one which highlights the implications of actions. Given that the theory Utilitarianism will define virtues as being traits which results to good consequences and the deontologists will define virtues as the traits which are possessed by individuals who attain their duties, the theory of virtue ethics will resist the definition of virtues concerning other concepts which are taken as being more fundamental. Instead, the vices and virtues create the foundation for the theories of virtue ethics as well as other normative notions which are grounded in them.

A virtue usually refers to an excellent trait of a given character. Virtue is typically viewed as a kind of disposition that is well entrenched in some sort of its possessor. For an individual to possess a virtue, it means that the person is particular with the kind of a person having a given complex mindset.

Kantian ethics refers typically to the deontological ethical approach which is ascribed to Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher. The method of Kantian ethics was created due to enlightenment rationalism which has its basis on the view that suggests that the intrinsically good thing is the goodwill; a given action may only become good given that its maxim is the principle that is behind it hence it has a moral duty to fulfill the set law. The principal idea that was relevant in the construction of the Kantian ethics moral law was categorical imperative which usually acts on all individuals despite the desires or interests that they have (Vaughn, 2015). There are different ways from which the Kantian ethics theory was formulated. The universality principle from which Kantian ethics theory has been built from emphasizes typically that for a given action to become permissible, then it should be possible to apply the action to all individuals without experiencing any form of contradiction. According to the Kantian ethics theory, a perfect duty is the one which usually holds the truth whereas an imperfect obligation is the one which may be made flexible and is applied in a given place and time.

Animal ethics frequently examines both the human-animal relationships as well as ways in which humans must treat animals. The main questions that are in human ethics topic may become highly contested given that there exists no general agreement concerning how individuals ought to start engaging with the nonhuman animals. Every given context under which animals are used commonly raises specific difficult questions and ethical issues that are contentious. Several ethical theories may offer a systematic way that may be used in justifying and explaining of moral decisions that people make in connection to animals. The ethical theories may greatly assist people in working out of what is regarded as the correct thing to be done and help in creating an understanding of the moral decisions and views that affect other individuals (Vaughn, 2015). However, it is vital for individuals to have a belief that there exists no given ethical theory that lacks its shortcomings. In animal ethics, three methods of ethics are discussed mainly; Kantian ethics theory, Utilitarianism, and Virtue ethics theory.

Singer starts his argument by giving examples of the social movements like black liberation movements and the women movements which utilize the utilitarianism theory views and postulates the purpose of those kinds of movements was meant for the greater good as they represented what was right (Singer, 2012). Singer argues that individuals should learn how challenging it is for individuals to become aware of the latent prejudice in their attitudes to specific groups until their prejudice is identified forcefully. Singer advocated that animal rights were equal to the human rights in many ways and there was the need for having people respecting the rights of animals (Singer, 2012). Singer also went ahead comparing the slaughtering of animals to racism, slavery as well as a violation of human rights. Singer is found tugging the heartstrings through demonstrating that there is the need of people to start showing compassion to the animals and people realize that animals also have feelings in the same way that humans have. Even at past people did not view other races or women as being equals, but when women started fighting for their rights, people began recognizing women for the greater good to society. In the same manner, people require identifying animals as being equals for the greater good and become more compassionate to the animals which should be shown by the manner people treat animals.

Tom Regan, an American philosopher, advocated for the animal rights theory. Regan articulated that he was in defense of the rights of animals and that even individual who grazed their animals on the farm or the animals that are utilized for research were deplorable as the individuals who tested the products' value from the animals (Regan, 2004). The biggest thing which usually strikes people from the writings done by Regan is the fact that he emphasized that it is fundamentally wrong to have a system which enables people in viewing of animals as their resources whereby different people use animals for various purposes such as eating, surgical manipulation, and exploitation for money or sport. It is advisable that after individuals accept viewing animals as beings that have their rights, but not seeing animals as their resources, then the rest would be predictable as not being regrettable. Regan advocated that animals should instead be left alone and become allowed to start roaming free instead of keeping the animals as captives or being used for research purposes.

There are valid arguments that people should both admit and emphasize that they require treating animals with much regards and compassion. Factory farming should not be allowed to occur in the current situations it is in now. The utilitarian thing which people should do in regards to animal ethics is making of changes in the current system, creating of a better monitoring and inspection program which make sure that all animals become treated compassionately and humanely. Even though these changes in the current system of animal treatment seem to differ from both Regan and Singer, but people have been eating meat for many years, even when we look at the biblical period, people used to sacrifice animals with the aim of washing away all of their sins. Therefore, this does not indicate that Jesus together with the prophets in the biblical era were non-utilitarian. An example that is presented by Regan is that animals should not become utilized for medical study. This would be wrong since when individuals made up their mind and chose following the approach by Regan, they would become non-utilitarian. When people start viewing the medical break that has been possible following the medical researches that have been conducted on the animals, it fit was not for the studies made by making use of animals, there would be many people who would be crippled and sick in our communities. Even if the testing for the cure of diseases is done using animals, it is done observing the utilitarian approach since the researchers aim at looking out for what is meant for the greater good of individuals even though the animals that are involved in carrying out of the test usually suffer. Therefore, it is much possible that the animals that are used in doing the research for the cure of the diseases affecting human beings such as smallpox, tetanus, mumps and measles mainly suffer or even die, but when people start considering the principle utilized by utilitarian theory, the testing is believed to be done to achieve greater good for people. Today, in many places across the globe, many children are provided with vaccines that are meant to prevent several diseases which were tested using animals.

In conclusion, Animal ethics examines both the human-animal relationships as well as ways in which humans must treat animals. The utilitarian approach provides an approach that is more rational which explain why people seem to be having better standards meant for animals and the approach does not tarnish the work that humans carry out intended for the greater good of all in the society. Utilitarianism emphasizes typically that the most ethical choice is the one which produces the greatest good that will benefit the most significant number of individuals. The utilitarian thing which people should do in regards to animal ethics is making of changes in the current system, creating of a better monitoring and inspection program which make sure that all animals become treated compassionately and humanely.


Regan, T. (2004). The case for animal rights. Univ of California Press.

Singer, P. (2012). Animal Liberation at 30,". Arguing about Bioethics, 185-194.

Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company.

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