This last century has assisted the births of such words as sexism, racism, etc. Women fought for their rights, as did the black people. Peter Singer, a graduate at Oxford and a member of the Philosophy Department at la Trobe University in Australia, defines the word prejudice as the actions performed by one group for their benefit at the expense of another group. Women and African American people resisted and fought off the oppressions that were hanging above their heads. Nevertheless, Singer asks, what happens to those who cannot speak up, those that do not have the ability to communicate with us, what about animals? Shouldn't we direct the notion equality toward the animals, as another sort of species, Singer demands?
Peter confirms. Speciesism is relatively a new word in our modern society. Singer declares that for some people this new prejudice is just mind-boggling, compared to the most common ones, sexism and racism. Singer asks himself, why cannot animals be allowed to the same privileges as the humans. People say that men and women are very different from animals, and that these liberties cannot be extended to animals. The non humans, animals, simply are incapable of making rational decision, therefore, why should they be allowed any rights?
Singer gives an example of how simply and quickly animal rights can be denied and unconsidered: "Men and women can vote; animals cannot vote, therefore why should we bother giving them right to vote. This just draws a picture saying, why should we give them any rights at all? Humans consider themselves superior, therefore why should they give in to a weaker species? Singer then compares racism to speciesism. He affirms that if we cannot judge by the race or the sex, why are we judging by species? Singer also tells us that we cannot judge people by their race or their sex, because these attributes do not give out the whole person.
This is how Singer defines discrimination. To reach equality, we cannot base ourselves on the person's intelligence, their strength or their moral capacity. Equality, according to Singer, is an ethical principle. From this, he declares that, even if two people are different, the level of satisfaction of their needs and interests should not be.
Finally, Singer, ties the equality principle to speciesism. He argues that if humans cannot exploit each other, who gives them the right to exploit animals? No one. The moral principle should be applied to every different species. Secondly, Singer turns to the notions interest and purpose.
He gives a simple example of these notions. If we do something to a non-living thing, that certain thing will not submitted to major consequences, because it is not alive, and therefore without purpose and interest in life. Animals, on the other hand, have a purposes and interests in their life, such as: reproduction and nourishment. If we stand in front of their goals they will suffer. Singer takes suffering of any being into consideration. According to Peter Singer, most humans are speciesists, because they will abolish other species' interests, to get to their own.
He brings up the most common example of this fact; our nourishment. We eat other species. Singer says that people think of other species as servants for the humans. They are here to satisfy our needs no matter what.
Singer calls this cruelty. Singer declares that the fact that we kill live animals to turn them into dishes and in such incredible number is simply devastating. The only way, according to Singer, to stop this practice is to change our dietary habits. He also says that there are many vegetables and fruits that can supply us with proteins and other nutrients that we need. Basically, what Singer tries to explain to us is to try and exclude meat from our diets and push away the corporate world as much as we can. Equality is what we should support.
Singer defines the animals as human's slaves. In the modern world, many new inventions have saved lives and basically changed the world forever. Singer brings up animals into this evolution process, the human process. He talks about the infinite number of animals that have been used in laboratories for experimentation. Singer asks, who gave us the permission to so? We take someone else's fate into our own hands and we dispose of it like a dirty sock.
Singer argues that there are many animals that through years have learned certain things, which would elevate them to a specific level of competency. He says that there exist some animals that are "smarter then humans". The humans that Singer is talking about are infants and imbeciles. He thinks that we are sacrificing perfectly normal and healthy animals over people that have serious and irreparable brain illnesses. He demonstrates that we will chose our species over any other species under any possible circumstances. Singer blames philosophy for the emergence of speciesism as well.
He says that philosophy is not concerned with the equality between the animals, which is totally unorthodox. Philosophy talks about human equality, but does not include non human beings. Singer talks about animals being considered without any emotions and any desires unlike humans. He considers this thought totally untrue, because there exist animals that can demonstrate emotions and desires.
Singer talks about moral worth which animals can never possess, according to the humans. Where is the difference between the worth of an imbecile and a perfectly normal animal? The self worth equals the status, according to Singer. Why can't an animal achieve some kind of worth or dignity? Without worth, Singer explains, the animal's fate is in our hands. Therefore to prevent cruelty to animals we should direct the moral equality toward the animals.
Even the smartest people can fall into the ideological trap. Even though animals are a different species, according to Singer, we do not have the right to exploit them to satisfy our needs. Speciesism is simply another sort of discrimination like sexism and racism. Equality should be given to all the species, because the non human beings have purposes and interests as well. Most of us are speciesists, according to Singer, because we have been influenced by the corporate world.
The modern world has had a lot of positive results on our way of living; nevertheless the animal kingdom has been victimized constantly. Humans kill an enormous quantity of animals to satisfy their needs such as: close, experimentation and the primary one, nourishment. Peter Singer, a contemporary philosopher, says that we should stop the massive animal killing and change our daily diets; starting by excluding the meat. Can we do it? Is this really the best solution? I tend to disagree.
Meat related foods are a part of our customs and to fulfill our protein intake we would need more agricultural soil to give us all the vegetables the we necessitate; however that does not give us an excuse to push the animal world to a total extinction. Since the caveman, meat has been his primary source of nourishment. That tradition has been passed on for millions of years. Let us think of some holidays that mean so much to us, such as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. The family would get together around the table to spend some quality time together. The climax of the dinner is when the food is served, when the bird is served.
Turkey is just one example of a popularized sort of meat that is around every table on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. The ideologies of the people were influenced by the tradition; therefore excluding meat from these holidays would be regarded as unorthodox. We cannot give up meat easily, because our tradition and custom support it. Animals have always been the primary source of survival for the humans.
They were the source of food, source of fur for the close and were used for many other purposes. It is not the way they kill the animals that disturbs me, but the quantity. Humans have a tendency to go after anything that will bring them money. This is the major problem.
They are not hunting to simply satisfy their needs. They are hunting to maximize their profits. This is the route to the extinction of the animal kingdom. Humans started hunting for everything, fish, seals, wolves and bears, even very small birds that don't really have a big value. Over the years we have seen some of the most beautiful animals get extinct. This will ultimately, in the long run, affect the whole natural system and eventually un stabilize it.
There will be major consequences that will affect the humans as well. Therefore, I do not think that the humans should kill massively, because it will catch up to them. If we decide to exclude every meat related product, we would need some other nutrients to give us the satisfactory quantity of proteins. It is true that we can get proteins from certain vegetables such as soybeans that are very rich in proteins. However, if we all decide to do so, to preserve the animals, we will need an enormous quantity of vegetables. This means that we will need to find more places for the plantations.
Agricultural soil in Canada is principally situated in the Prairies. What about the other provinces then? They will have to choice to expand the terrains in search of good soil by cutting down forests. The consequence of this action will be the massive destruction of animal habitat. With animal habitat dead, the animals will follow as well. Consequently, I think that we should not try to get proteins entirely from vegetables, but decrease the number of unnecessary animal killings.
In conclusion, I don't agree entirely with Singer's theory of abandonment of meat from our daily diets and the killing of animals. I do think that we should stop the massive unnecessary killing of defenseless animals, because it will cause massive extinctions and have a great impact on the environment, and eventually the humans. Even if we tried to eliminate meat from our diets, we would need to change our tradition and customs. This is most unlikely. To satisfy our daily intake of proteins through vegetables, we will need a lot more of agricultural soil, which would mean expansion through forests. Expansion will destroy the animal habitats and thus the animals.
Finally, I think that giving up meat would not be the best solution; nevertheless we should stop the massive and unnecessary killing of innocent animals.