“Fortunately the case for upholding the equality of human beings does not depend on equality of intelligence, moral capacity, physical strength, or any other matters of fact of this kind. Equality is a moral ideal, not a simple assertion of fact. There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests. The principle of equality of human beings is not a description of an alleged actual equality: it is a prescription of how we should treat human beings.”
P. Singer, The Animal Liberation Movement
Old Hammond Press, Nottingham, England 1985
The paragraph was not difficult to understand. The paragraph explains that each human being is different qualities- opinions, looks, physical statue, appearance, knowledge, etc.- and no two humans are alike. Despite that, we treat people equally. In essence, people are not all equal, but we (are to) treat all people equally.
I absolutely agree with this excerpt from the assigned reading. I am one of the people that recognizes that everyone is absolutely not equal for a number of reasons- social class, looks, goodness, badness, smarts, spunk, etc. However, it does not mean that we should treat individuals any differently, for we are all people and should be treated equally. I do not think that all people should be treated equally in everything. For example, if you have good grades and are smart, you should get into certain colleges, while someone who is not as motivated and does not have the same kind of grades should get into schools of a lower caliber. Equality should be emphasized in terms of human rights, dignity, respect, and kindness.
Speciesism is the idea that those of a different species are thought of differently and have different rights than those of the species of higher status, which in this case would be humans. Just as with sexism, and racism- there is one cohort that is thought of as the dominant and ‘better’, while the other cohort is thought of as ‘lesser’ and not as significant. While I do not think that animals should be subjected to cruelty for no reason, or even ridiculous reasons such as testing animals for a certain type of toothpaste flavoring. However, I do think that some animals should still be used as sustenance for humans. I do think that animals have emotions, feelings, and sensations, and so I do not condone animal cruelty or negligence in any other aspect other than simply feeding humans. I also don’t think that slaughtering animals should be done to satisfy the gluttony of humans these days. For example, if one pig can sustain ten people- well then only one pig should be slaughtered for those ten people so that they may live and be healthy. Two pigs should not be killed so that those ten people can ‘stuff their faces’, for lack of a better phrase.
I think that it is a birthright to be treated equally as other humans. However, when individuals commit crimes such as murder or robbery, then they give up their right to equality. I feel that humans are given the right to equality because they have the ability to reason. In that sense, I also feel like individuals are able to endanger their equality because they have the understanding or right and wrong and the free will the to act upon situations at their discretion.
I feel that humans are superior to animals because they were given the gift of free will and the ability to reason this free will with the knowledge and grace they have been given from their parents, faith system, community, etc. They have the reason to act differently on certain things, while often times, animals just act as they are inclined to given their ‘nature’. Human nature vs the nature of animals. With that being said, I do feel that we have the moral obligation to treat animals with dignity and respect- because we know better than to torture them with no cause because it is immoral. I think we should be respectful to certain animals (pigs, cows) out of gratitude because they are a source of food for us. I think humans should be able to still slaughter animals for food. I also think that animals should be used for agriculture in a fair manner- I don’t think they should be whipped and beaten and I think they should be kept in a an area of reasonable condition. I do not think that animals should be hunted for fun- if they are going to be hunted, they should be eaten. I can’t help but recognize that countries with greater respect to animals have a high level of poverty- like India for example. If they could eat the cow- perhaps the market would go up, they would be better nourished, etc. At the same time, we have a high level of poverty. Also, we perhaps abuse our access to animals as a source of food.
Sea lions were actually taken off of the endangered species list within the last few days. Yesterday there was reportedly four sea lions that washed up on the shore of a beach in Malibu, California with multiple fatal gun shot wounds. We should protect these animals because shooting animals for no reason is cruel. These animals do not have weapons to defend themselves and do not have the reason to protect themselves from humans. Some humans are bad people, and there needs to be a law in place to protect animals from such cruel human acts of cruelty. I don’t know if these sea lions do anything important for our environment or are an important member of the food chain for more important species, but they are defenseless and we have to protect them FROM HUMAN ACTION because what happened within the last few days in just cruel.