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Animal Rights

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Upon laying my eyes on this piece of "fine literature", I knew that I wasn't going to enjoy it too much. To my surprise, once I read each line at least twice, and broke each sentence down, I was able to actually from an a opinion, actually, more than one opinion. In the essay, I found that there are many things that I agree with, many that I disagree with, and many that I have mixed feelings about.

When I read Thomas Aquinas' quote, "That animals are intended for man's use in the natural order. Hence it is not wrong for man to make use of them, either by killing or in any other way whatever." I formed my first opinion. In my heart I know that animals weren't just put on this earth to be used by man, animals feel pain, and have feelings, and we have a moral obligation to respect that. Joseph Rikaby said, "Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being person, cannot have any rights. The conclusion is clear." This, as you can see, is just the opposite of my beliefs.

Moving on to Peter Singer and Tom Regan, I adore how they both have the same opinion in the end, but I absolutely love how different their reasons of reaching their opinions are. In this essay, Quamen has a very brilliant quote from Jeremy Bentham that stood out to me, "The greatest good for the greatest number." I agree with this simple idea, however I do not agree when Quamen says that the idea put forth by Singer, "in other words, the interests of every being affected by and action are to be taken into account and given the same weight as the like interests of any other being" is a "precise summary" of Bentham's idea. What I do agree with is Singer's declaration, "if a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for disregarding that suffering, or for refusing to count it equally with the like suffering of any other being." When I read this with my father, he uses my dog as an example. If my father comes up to me and kicks me, then goes outside and kicks my dog, then he should feel the same amount of guilt for each of us. I broke it down to simply believing that all creatures are the same, they all feel pain, be it human or a dog, we feel pain. Quamen asks, "Where is the boundary? Where falls the line between creatures who suffer and those that are incapable?" When I read this I smiled because I cannot comprehend how one can draw a cold stone line separating those who can feel, and those who cannot. I do agree with Singer on many points throughout the essay, but not on what he states next. "Somewhere between a shrimp and an oyster seems as good a place to draw the line as any, and better than most." Singer simply draws the line at the oyster, even though later on in the essay he states that the judgment is not an infallible one.

I love how Quamen sarcastically states his opinion towards this belief. "Singer's cold philosophic eye travels across the pageant of living species-chickens suffer, mice suffer, fish suffer, um, lobsters most likely suffer, look alive, you other creatures! - And his damning stare lands on the oyster." On the other hand, when Regan starts talking about individual



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(2010, 12). Animal Rights. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Animal Rights" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

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"Animal Rights." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.