Peter Singer's Utilitarian Argument For Animal Rights

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My objective is to address this question working within a utilitarian perspective. I believe that there are two main reasons why is important to address this problem within the utilitarian approach. First, utilitarianism has proven to be a great tool in the animal rights movement. The 'equal consideration of interest for all who can experience pleasure and pain' is a simple and powerful maxim to defend the need to transform the way we treat non-human animals. Even if Peter Singer did not start the animal rights movement, he was the one who popularised it. I believe the secret of his success was the strength of his utilitarian argument for animal liberation. Likewise, most of the advances animals have gained over this forty years have been based on a utilitarian perspective, with all the more influential animal NGOs working within this perspective. Secondly, I believe that the lack of a satisfactory answer to the issue of killing animals is a problem itself for utilitarian ethics, as it undermines its capacity to offer a non paradoxical position about animal ethics. Furthermore, given that the ethics of killing is considered a major problem…show more content…
This argument is understandably upsetting for many defenders of animals, as it implies that an animal can be replaced by another. This suggests that the animal personality and interests are not morally relevant. This is a problematic assumption for those who defend animals. However, my problem is not so much with the replaceability argument but with the assumptions that lead us to it. This assumptions include judgements about the badness of death for animals, ideas of personhood and how we apply them to animals and, in some cases, a blatant disregard of the complexity of animal minds. Therefore, I will explore these topics in my research hoping to shed some light on how our ideas about animals have determined the
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