Why Human Life Generally More Valuable Than Animal Life Essay

1239 Words Dec 15th, 2016 5 Pages
Your grandfather’s Alzheimer’s has progressed to such a degree that his mental capabilities are no more than those of a lab rat. Scientists are in need of test subjects, so your grandpa is shipped off to a facility where they test unregulated amounts of drugs, makeup, and shampoos on him. R. G. Frey uses this example of testing on cognitively impaired humans throughout his piece, “Moral Standing, the Value of Lives, and Speciesism.”. This paper will outline Frey’s arguments on why human life generally has more value than animal life and highlight the exceptions to the rule that justify the mentioned scenario, while also presenting objections to the unequal value thesis and evaluating those oppositions with respect to humans with cognitive disabilities and the morality of eating animals.
Frey’s unequal value thesis proposes that although animal life has some value, not all animal life is valued the same, and ultimately human life is more valuable than animal life. The assessment that all animals have some value can be observed through their cognitive faculties and ability to feel pleasure and pain.1 Some animals have higher functioning mental states, and therefore can feel more pleasure and pain; a chimpanzee can suffer while a fly cannot. This gives the chimp’s life more value than that of the fly. However, humans possess the largest capacity for feeling pleasure and suffering, which ranks them above any animal. Their autonomy and agency are unique skills central to…

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