Animal Equality

Feb 3rd, 2012
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Animal Equality

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Singer's Argument for Animal Equality This paper is the result of feeling that Singer's argument for animal equality in his paper 'All Animals are Equal' deserves to be taken more seriously than it often is. What I try to do is identify Singer's essential argument and then defend it against some objections I have come across. The 'irrelevance argument'Singer begins by assuming that the 'principle of equality' or 'principle of equal consideration of interests' is a basic moral principle. The principle says 'treat all people as equals', meaning 'give equal consideration to the interests of all people', or 'treat the interests of all people as equally important', regardless, for example, of their skin colour, or gender, or sexual orientation. So racism, sexism and homophobia are violations of the principle of equality; they are practices that 'discriminate' so as to favour the interests of one group of people over those f others. In fact another title for the principle might be the 'principle of non-discrimination'. Singer then proposes that we should 'extend' or 'reinterpret' the principle of equality so that it applies not just to all humans but to all sentient beings, by which he means all beings that are capable of suffering or happiness or enjoyment (from here on I shall just say 'suffering or happiness' for short). So the principle becomes 'treat all sentient beings as equal' or 'give equal consideration to the interests of all sentient beings', regardless of which

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