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Animal ethics is concerned with the status of animals, whereas
environmental ethics concerns itself with the relationship to the environment.
I will show the existence of animal ethics depends on the existence of
environmental ethics. I will prove this by showing that such philosophers who
have practiced animal ethics such as Singer, Regan, and Taylor are limited
because they are individualistic. Which means they are limited to animal
concerns, and nothing else. But with the environmental ethics such
philosophers as Leapold, Wesra and Naess look at the environment ethics
collectively. Which means they look at the big picture which includes the
animals and its environment.
I will first look at the views of Peter Singer, who is a utilitarian. A
utilitarian is someone who believes the greatest amount of good for the greatest
number. Singer wants the suffering of animals to be taken into consideration.
He states “If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing
to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the
being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally
with the like suffering...”. What this means is that the suffering of animals
is not justified. He also states how he thinks a major way to stop the
suffering of animals is to stop the experimenting on animals. He states”...the
widespread practice of experimenting on other species in order to see if certain
substances are safe for human beings, or to test some psychological theory
about the effect of severe punishment or learning...”. When he is talking
about the experiments and suffering of animals. He is concerned most with
domestic animals, he is not too concerned with the other animals in the word.
Views like these make Singer limited.
Singer is limited and individualistic because he is not concerned with
the environment in which animals live and since he is a utilitarian, equality
is not something he is concerned with. Even other philosopher criticizes the
utilitarian point of view exhibited by Singer. Regan protests “Utilitarian has
no room for the equal moral rights of different individuals because it has no
room for their equal inherent value or worth. What has value for the
utilitarian is the satisfaction of an individuals interests, not the individual
whose interests they are”. If things are not given equal rights, that
includes the environment there will be a tomorrow to look forward to.
Singer has also been known to show a lack of compassion and sympathy.
As stated by Westra “IT is probable that, at a minimum, instrumental values has
always been ascribed to those animals which have contributed in some way to the
human community down through ages...Still it is possible to raise doubts about
sympathy, as many claim to have no such feeling, including such animals
defenders as Singer”. Westra goes on to describe how Singer is not only
unsympathetic to that of animals with intrinsic value but to those people in the
third world. Singer feels that since the people of the third world are so far
away that it is not of his concern. Singer wants the suffering of animals to
stop because it is not justified, but what makes the suffering of third world
countries justified? Because they are further away? Such individualistic
approaches will not save the habitat in which the animals live and without that
the environment will not survive. Singer is not the only one with an
Another philosopher of environmental ethics Tom Regan also displays the
individualistic approach. Regan believes in Cantianism. What that means is
that the individuals have rights. Regan has modified it a bit to say that
everyone is subject to a life. Regan believes that animal and humans all have
intrinsic value, therefor they have a right to life. He calls for three changes
”1) The total abolition of the use of animals in science. 2) The total
dissolution of commercial animal agriculture. 3) The Total elimination of
commercial and sport hunting”. He believes that animals should not be treated
as our resources. he also believes that since everyone is subject to a life
people should not believe in contractarianism. Contractarianism states that in
order to gain morality you must be able to sign and understand a contract and if
they can not sign a contract (i.e. infant) you do not have the right to morality.
But Regan also views things individualisticly.
He, like Singer also looks at the concerns of animals, of “Value”.
Those animals used in science experiments, agriculture, and commercial and
sport hunting. But what about
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Deep ecology, Animal welfare, Moral philosophers, Social philosophy, Environmental ethics, Animal rights, Land ethic, Peter Singer, Intrinsic value, Ethics, Tom Regan, Utilitarianism
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