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Critical Evaluation Singer’s Utilitarian Defence of Humane Treatment of Animals.

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Essay title: Critical Evaluation Singer’s Utilitarian Defence of Humane Treatment of Animals.

I find that Singer's views to justify the obligation to be a vegetarian and to treat animals in a more humane manner a convincing argument; however, his views do not advocate animal rights in particular. This essay will discuss his Utilitarian approach to the treatment of animals, take a look at its objections and will ultimately prove Regan correct in his dismissal of Singer's views.

Firstly I will give a brief definition of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a philosophy of ethics. The overall goal to utilitarianism is to reach the greatest possible happiness and decrease any type of suffering. In order to determine the morality of an action one needs to look at what happiness and suffering will be brought to all parties concerned. Each person's pleasure and pain count the same, no more no less. Does the total amount consist of happiness or pain? If there is more happiness brought to the group than pain then the action is deemed morally right. If there is more pain caused than happiness then the action is deemed immoral.

Singer applies the same balancing act of utilitarianism to his theory. The first important point he makes is that we must give equal considerations to all that are concerned including animals. Singer argues that suffering is suffering and if there is more suffering being caused than happiness then it is immoral. Therefore we should consider animals in the same light when weighing in our [humans] own interests. Animal's interests arise from their capacity to feel pleasure and their capacity to feel pain. Singer gives an example of a boy kicking a rock down the road. There is nothing immoral about this action as the rock has no self awareness, it is not sentient and it cannot feel pain. It becomes different if the boy decides to kick a mouse down the road. The mouse has the

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capacity to feel pain and is sentient. The mouse's interests come into account in the utilitarian balance of interests. There is no doubt

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