The Role Of Utilitarianism In Animal Welfare

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Utilitarianism, otherwise known as consequentialism, is an ethical framework that considers actions morally correct or right is their outcomes or consequences: A person’s actions are considered moral if the outcome brings out the greatest and most amount of good. Even if a person has good intentions to conduct the action, a utilitarian would not consider this morally significant if the consequences are not positive. Something is “good” if it fulfills an entities base desires but their pleasures are also part of the equation; utilitarianism can become quite complicated when one must consider all the desires of everyone affected, equally considering each one individually. The Animal welfare philosopher Peter Singer, has several ideas regrading …show more content…

Singer accuses humanity of thinking this way if animals’ rights are not given fair representation. Non-human animals can suffer, that is, we all have the same interest in living: Singer comes to this conclusion by rationalizing that all other species are sentient and can suffer, suffering is bad, therefore, non-human animals should be included in daily-decisions for a utilitarian. Sentience is defined as the capacity to feel meaning they can feel suffering. For instance, when humans adopt pets and keep them in their homes we treat them as members of the household respecting them as equals: The pets return love and appreciation. In an alternative case, if the owner suddenly became aggressive and harmed the pet putting its safety at risk, the animal would naturally defend itself against the hostility. Vice versa, humans would defend themselves against hostility as well to prevent the suffering they might experience. In this context, both parties experience suffering since they both act to prevent harm for themselves. I appreciate the conclusion based on sentience and the ability to suffer, however, using Hobbes’ idea of contractualism it is difficult to exit an inherently anthropocentric view of …show more content…

In the case of house pets, one can argue we bring them into our homes for companionship rather than a need to be there. According to Hobbes, humankind created society to enter into an agreement that involves seeking peace and denying the “state of nature” to avoid the lack of laws and civil authority: This pre-arranged contract has evolved from the need to protect oneself knowing that everyone is capable of killing each other. Participating in the contract and keeping peace encourages the attitude that lacks sympathy for non-human species. For centuries, humankind has separated itself from nature and this has not been truer than presently where cities hold the largest concentration of human animals that are dependent on technology and other human conventions for survival. I can understand how one can argue against animal welfarism when humankind has been conditioned to lack appreciation for non-human animals and use them for our own self-interest. On the other hand, there is an element of natural instinct that I believe is not considered when discussing contractualism related to animal

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