Tom Regan's Argument For Animal Rights

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I will argue in favor of Regan’s principle that non-human animals should have moral rights. Tom Regan, a famous philosopher, proposed the idea “that animals have rights based on their inherent value as experiencing subjects of life” (Regan). For thousands of years, animals have been used for as pets, food, and labor. Throughout the past century, many philosophers, including Regan, have raised arguments on how we, as humans, are treating animals poorly. In the early 1920’s, women were denied rights against voting, work, and equal pay. In the 1800’s, slavery was very prevalent in America. After many years of protest and opposition, women and blacks alike were granted equal rights. Throughout history, humans have fought and won equal rights…show more content…
For example, an individual might have a pet dog that lives with him. He or she has probably never even considered eating their beloved pet, but wouldn’t think twice about ordering a steak for lunch. If people eat cows regularly without thinking anything of it, why not eat a dog? The only answer to this is that humans have formed prejudice views based on species that make us perceive one animal as a loyal companion, and another as lunch. Marginal humans have inherent value which means they are granted rights. There is no rational premise for denying that animals have inherent value, therefore humans have no reasoning for denying animals of rights. Animals have the capacity to form relationships with their species, feel pain and pleasure, make decisions, and understand their life’s importance to them, therefor by inherent value, animals should have rights.
An objection to this argument could target the claim that all animals have inherent value. Regan states that subjects-of-a-life have inherent value, and that the difference between subjects-of-a-life and other living organisms is that subjects-of-a-life are aware and value their lives. Doesn’t this mean that the reason subjects-of-a-life have inherent value is that they care and are aware of their own lives? But, since there are animals in this world who are non-sentient, then based off of this premise they do not have inherent value rendering
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