“If I give a horse a hard slap across its rump with my open hand, the horse may start, but presumably feels little pain. Its skin is thick enough to protect it against a mere slap. If I slap a baby in the same way, however, the baby will cry and presumably does feel pain, for its skin is more sensitive. So it is worse to slap a baby than a horse, if both slaps are administered with equal force. But there must be some kind of blow – I don’t know exactly what it would be, but perhaps a blow with a heavy stick – that would cause the horse as much pain as we cause a baby by slapping it with our hand. That is what I mean by the same amount of pain; and if we consider it wrong to inflict that much pain on a baby for no good reason then we must, unless we are speciesists, consider it equally wrong to inflict the same amount of pain on a horse for no good reason.”
Singer, The Animal Liberation Movement, retrieved from:
IN YOUR OWN WORDS:
The paragraph I selected is saying that if someone was to give a horse a little slap to get it going, it would feel little pain. If a baby was slapped the same way, it would cry and presumably feel pain. It would take more to cause the horse pain than it would to cause a baby pain, but even though there is a difference in how the pain is inflicted, they both are still capable of feeling pain. If we think it is wrong to cause a baby that much pain for no good reason, then we must think it is equally wrong to inflict the same amount of pain on a horse for no reason. People who are speciesists will disagree with that statement because they think humans are superior to animals no matter what.
OPINION and INTERPRETATION:
I think that the paragraph I chose is a good explanation of how animals can feel as much pain as a human being can. Both babies and animals are incapable of speaking so the way they show that their in pain is either crying or making a whimpering noise. Since they can’t speak, they have no way of telling us how they feel. No human being or animal should suffer from pain caused by another human being for no reason. I completely agree that it is equally wrong to inflict pain and suffering on both human beings and animals for no reason.
VIEWS on SUFFERING:
What is the meaning of speciesism, the way it’s discussed in the reading? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
Speciesism is the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals. In the reading it says that speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. Speciesism is compared to racism in the reading. It says that racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race, when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. I do not agree with speciesism because animals do not deserve to be treated unfairly or to be put in unnecessary pain. Even though humans are the superior species because of the capabilities we have, doesn’t mean we have the right to treat animals poorly.
What gives humans the right for equality? What is your view? Do you agree with Singer in how he addresses this question?
It is morally right for every human being to be treated the same, even though all human beings are different. Singer states that 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. Even though humans may not technically be “equal,” the term equality means that all human beings should have the same rights. Singer says that “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.” I completely agree with him because a persons needs and interests should not be treated differently than another persons needs and interests. That would mean they are being treated unequally.
Do we have moral obligation to avoid inflicting needless pain on animals? How should we treat animals? What are the implications of your answer to food, agriculture, hunting, animal rights? What are the implications of your answer to larger global issues, poverty, hunger, global warming?
I do believe that we have a moral obligation to avoid inflicting needless pain on animals. Animal torture and harm is one of the most upsetting things to me. No animal deserves to be put in needless pain, especially because they are so helpless. They have no say in how they are treated and it makes me so upset when I hear about animals being treated poorly. Human beings have the capability to speak up against animal cruelty and that is why I believe we have a moral obligation to do so.
Every living species needs food to survive. Animals even kill other animals in order to eat. The part about humans killing animals for food that is cruel is the way the animals are treated before they are used for food. They are put in cramped environments and live under unsuitable conditions for the entire durations of their lives until they are used for food. Unfortunately, the food industry has to be the way that it is in order to feed our large and growing population at lower prices. If the way animals were treated in the meat industry changed for the better, more people would go hungry. I believe hunting is okay if it’s for eating purposes, but not if it is just for the sport. Animals should definitely not be harmed just for the glory of killing that hunters think they get.
MULTI-MEDIA Include a picture of an endangered animal. Why should we protect it? Is it our moral obligation? Why not protect other animals, then?
This is a Bengal Tiger and I think it is one of the most beautiful animals. There are fewer than 2,500 left in the wild. The main reasons behind the species being endangered is loss of habitat, illegal wildlife trade, prey loss and conflict with humans. Humans are taking away their habbitat by cutting down forests and killing the deer and atelope they eat. Humans are also killing them for decorative items, even though it is illegal. By protecting these tigers, we also protect around 25,000 acres of forest. These ecosystems supply both nature and people with fresh water, food, and health. It is our moral obligation to help all endangered species on this planet because humans have the voice that animals do not. We need to protect other species for everyone to survive.