Animal Rights And Wrongs by Roger Scruton

By Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton units out a compelling account of the way we must always take into consideration the morality of our relations to different animals. He argues that it truly is fallacious to think that animals instantly have rights, yet indicates we owe them tasks looking on no matter if we're treating them as pets, for laboratory experiments or for meat. this can be crucial studying within the mild of the hot public situation over concerns reminiscent of veal calf exportation and the BSE predicament>

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On the other hand, to imagine that we can simply dispose of mental cripples is to display not only a callousness towards the individual, but also a cold and calculating attitude to the human species and the human form. It is part of human virtue to acknowledge human life as sacrosanct, to recoil from treating other humans, however hopeless their life may seem to us, as merely disposable and to look for the signs of personality wherever the human eye seems able to meet and return our gaze. This is not part of virtue only; it is a sign of piety.

The ethic of sympathy must therefore be acknowledged in any moral thinking that could be recommended to rational beings. Many of our most troubling moral conf licts stem from the fact that, while sympathy provides the underlying motive to obey the moral law, it may also, in the individual case, prompt our disobedience. The very same feelings that implant in me the absolute interdiction against killing an innocent human being may tempt me, when confronted by the unbearable suffering of a hopeless invalid who begs to be relieved of his torment, to disobey.

It is as right and natural to pity the gasping fish on the strand as the wounded stag at bay. But it is impossible for us to relate to fish as individuals – that is to say, with sentiments which single out the particular from the general. Yet, between the dog and the ape on the one hand, and the fish and the ant on the other, there is a host of animals which, while entertaining only a dim conception of the rival merits of individual humans, or while even looking on humans as we do on ants, as interchangeable parts of a collective nuisance, have a keen conception of the individuality of other members of their species.

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