Essay on Do Animals Have Rights...a Philosophical View

3997 Words May 12th, 2001 16 Pages
Do Animals Have Rights?

Should animals be harmed to benefit mankind? This pressing question has been around for at least the past two centuries. During the early nineteenth century, animal experiments emerged as an important method of science and, in fact, marked the birth of experimental physiology and neuroscience as we currently know it. There were, however, guidelines that existed even back then which restricted the conditions of experimentation. These early rules protected the animals, in the sense that all procedures performed were done so with as little pain as possible and solely to investigate new truths. Adopting the animals' perspectives, they would probably not agree that these types of regulations were much
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Looking at this argument, one might say that humans are greedy and disrespectful of God's creation. But, are we supposed to try experimental medicines and surgical procedures on humans and risk their death? Or is it better to educate students about anatomy and physiology through the sacrifice of animals? Ethically, does the end justify the means? David Lee Miller argues that for us to engage in a strictly ethical conversation on the topic of animal rights, "we would do well to suspend our individual material interests in the outcome of the discussion" (Miller 3). I agree with Miller here that to speak of the determination of animal rights on an ethical level, which is where it should be, we certainly cannot be concerned with how nice it would be to have a full-length mink coat or a fabulous alligator purse. It must come down to the ethics of killing an animal for the sake of the value of its life and not for the sake of weighing the amount of money you will receive for the sale of one hundred pounds of beef. But, simply by looking at how large this debate has grown, we can see that making this separation is very difficult. Often times, material interests get in the way and lead our ethical thought astray. But can it be alright to allow these interests to take charge? This all depends on your ethical standpoint regarding the assignment of rights to animals. If you believe their

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