Harman's Arguments Against Killing Animals

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According to Elizabeth Harman, an action that kills an animal even painlessly, is an action that harms the animal. If we indeed have strong moral reasons against causing pain to animals, Harman argues we must also have strong moral reasons against killing animals. This raises an objection to the Surprising Claim, which states that we have strong reasons against causing intense pain to animals, but only weak reasons against killing animals.

The First View claims that killing an animal deprives it of a positive benefit (future life) but does not harm the animal. Modified slightly, the best response to Harman's argument could be as follows:
Intense pain and death are both bad for animals. However, inflicting intense pain to animals versus killing them painlessly after a well cared life are significantly different actions.
Most people agree that the former is often much …show more content…

Is it accurate to subject the chicken slaughterer to the same standards of moral disdain one might cast upon the shark finner? Probably not. Although the sharks were not killed, we tend to have stronger reasons against finning sharks than slaughtering chickens. Adopting such a reasoning is not unfounded. Ultimately, killing is not the same, and cannot be equated with harming.

Harman argues that killing deprives a being of a benefitand therefore harms it. Consider two parents who decide for their terminally ill and comatose child to be mercifully killed through euthanasia. If their decision prevents their child from an undesirable future of abject misery, then the child is not deprived of a future benefit. Although the child is killed, it is incorrect to say he is harmed. The same reasoning applies to a situation where an owner euthanizes his ill pet rather than let it suffer intense pain. Euthanasia kills, but it does not necessarily

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