Rights: Humans and Animals


During this past semester, we have discussed numerous topics that I consider to be very important to society as a whole.  Abortion, euthanasia and animal rights were three of the most controversial topics.  The three aforementioned topics are quite important since they deal specifically with human life and the life of animals across the board.  As for abortion and euthanasia, how can we allow this to be an option?  Society should not allow this to occur, especially with your tax dollars being spent to support someone’s irresponsibility or choice to have unprotected sex.  Euthanasia hits close to home because we too must ensure we take care of our elderly, those who loved us, raised us, and contributed to whom we are today.  An animal right is a value I hold close to my heart.  From childhood, we have always had pets, specifically a dog-named Duke.  This dog was my best friend, always brightened my day and was ready to play catch.  Today, I have expanded my views on animal rights to include cows and any other animal us humans will consume in order to survive.  In the following analysis, I will argue that we must protect human life to the fullest extent possible as well as for animals-rights since they cannot speak for themselves.

Having demonstrated the importance of life, abortion is wrong, seriously immoral, except in rare cases, and it is in the same moral category as killing an innocent adult human being.[1]  Roe v. Wade in 1973 became and remains the most controversial ruling in US Court history.[2]  The ruling provided regulations for elective and medically required abortions.  During my younger years, the thought of abortions didn’t bother me, but now after discussing the topic in class I have had a change of heart and now live with a conservative view.  According to Don Marquis, a philosophy professor at the University of Kansas, “The loss of one’s life deprives one of all experiences, activities, projects and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future.  Therefore, killing someone is wrong, primarily because the killing inflicts (one of) the greatest possible losses on the victim.”  I agree whole-heartedly with his argument and we all must ensure we protect the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves.  A reading from this past semester about the violinist being connected to a human for nine months brought up several important points.  First, nine months is not a long period if you compare that to our life expectancy, which is now just shy of 80 years old.  I believe that disconnecting a healthy person from the violinist who would only need your help for a short time period is selfish and dead wrong.  For the other side of life, we should allow abortions for victims of rape or for woman who could possibly die from birthing a child.  I do not hold those two categories as being immoral.  The rape victim did not choose to suffer this violent act; thus becoming pregnant.  As for the mother-to-be, possibly chose to procreate and have good intentions to raise her child.  For unseen medical reasons, birthing a child could cause her own demise and that is not within the scope of my argument.  Women have an option to birth a child and then surrender the baby for adoption.  Killing an innocent baby is morally wrong and inhumane.  Just as I have argued for the protection of life, let’s discuss the same issue but at the opposite end of the spectrum, euthanasia.

Building on that same principle of life we must also oppose euthanasia, which is a controversial topic within our country.  On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.[3]  YouTube published a video of an individual named Roger Sanger, who wished to die with dignity in 2009.  Roger was given the option to change his mind and remain with the living.  Roger declined and chose to drink a deadly dose of Nembutal, which put him to sleep then death.  Although Roger appeared to die a painless death, this video brought tears my eyes and left me wondering why someone would choose death.  Roger was accompanied by family and friends which none took the time to try and convince him to change his mind.  J. Gay-Williams stated euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are irreversible and it works against our own interest if we practice it or allow it to be practiced on us.[4]  It should be known that those who die due to an allergic reaction from a medicine or their body did not respond to treatment is excluded from this argument.  Life is the most precious thing we have so we must protect it to the fullest.  We all have motives in life and by allowing someone to commit suicide thus making our bankroll fat, is a damn shame.  A person dying relieves us of the responsibly to care for them.  We now have more time to do what we want instead of take care of someone who took care of us such as your Mother and Father.  As for these two issues, we should protect life and encourage those that wish to die, to think about what they are doing.  It maybe possible they are not thinking clearly about their actions so we must ensure they know exactly what is going on, so they don’t leave earth prematurely.

Building further on the two previous topics, we should also support animal-rights.  We have already mentioned that abortion and euthanasia are both morally wrong and although animals cannot communicate with humans, we know they feel pain.  We must ensure they are protected from inhumane treatment and not purposely abused or injured.[5]  In order for humans to survive, we do not have to consume meat.  By eating meat, which is a good source of iron, we tend to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.  I don’t mean overeating but to a certain extent eating meat is fine.  According to Kant, we have no “direct duties” to animals because they lack personal attributes such as rationality, self-consciousness, and free will.[6]  I do agree with Kant, but that does not give us the right to abuse them in anyway.  This part of my argument sounds hypocritical, so let me further explain myself.  I am not opposing eating meat, but I am opposing the abuse and torture these animals suffer as they die.  If we must eat meat, let’s treat these animals humanly and provide them a painless death.  In April, the Stanford Slaughterhouse located in Central California, was shutdown due to inhumane cattle treatment.  A video surfaced showing workers abusing cattle.  I do consume meat, not very much, but the little amount I do brings to light the importance of this topic and how much we should protect animals from abuse and torture.  I would like to think all animals are slaughtered in a humane manner but I know that isn’t the case.  Unfortunately, animal rights is a rarely, if ever spoken, discussed and only comes to light when a celebrity makes it known they support animal-rights.

Life is the most important thing to us and we should protect it to the end.  Abortion, euthanasia and torturing animals are morally wrong.  We have an obligation to help those who cannot do so for themselves such as those babies [fetus] under 15 weeks old.  As for our elderly, they too deserve our help.  After all, they are someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, father, or mother, who took care of us as newborns, infants or young kids.  As for animal-rights, we owe them the same since they are too living animals.  We have an ethic and moral obligation to reduce, if not completely eliminate, all torture and abuse us humans inflict on animals.  Starting today, join me and stand against abortion, euthanasia and animal abuse.

[1] Marquis, J. (1989). Why abortion is immoral. Journal of philosophy, 86, 183-202.

[2] Roe v wade: Key us abortion ruling. (2004, December 10). BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/49315.stm

[3] Oregon Department of Public Health, (1997). Death with dignity act. Retrieved from State of Oregon website:  http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/Evaluationresearch/deathwithdignityact/Pages/index.aspx

[4] Gay-Williams, J. (1979). The wrongfulness of euthanasia. Intervention and reflection: Basic issues in medical ethics, 709-711.

[5] Romero, E. (Performer) (2013). Animal rights [Radio series episode]. In Valley public radio. Bakersfield, CA: Valley public radio. Retrieved from http://www.kvpr.org/post/california-animal-welfare-bill-creates-controversy-critics-call-it-ag-gag

[6] Kant, I. (1963). Lecture on ethics. (pp. 239-241). Routledge Publishing.


3 thoughts on “Rights: Humans and Animals

  1. I understand and see your morals, however I don’t agree with them. When talking about euthanasia you say that we should preserve life, and if someone wants to die then they are probably not thinking right and should be helped so they don’t die prematurely; however, who is to say what is prematurely if a older man has lived a long healthy life has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and would rather die now while he is still enjoying life rather then suffering until his death i believe he should be able to. As you said about animal rights their death should be peaceful and humane, why should that not apply to humans as well.

  2. I agree life is precious and something to hold dear, but it should be your call in determining how another person handles their body. Each individual did not just happen upon a situation and then decide to either get pregnant or have a terminally ill disease. There are plenty of people out their that had made mistakes and were irresponsible, but they do not make up the majority or even half of that group. Life is not being taken away from you as a person and it is not being wasted by the death of animals. Both of these topics are very difficult to argue from being that they are essentially subjective and thus not legally binding when it comes to the law. You are entitled to your opinion but I do feel that you judged others a bit too harshly and do not fully understand that in order to survive we hunt and we kill and we supply. The most common cycle of life there is. To stop that is like wanting to stop time, impossible taks. Making choices for others that involves them and their doctors is not helping either.

  3. Although I do share your same beliefs when it comes to animal rights and it is a very sad thing that we do not value as a people, animals the way we should. Humans are far too egotistical to even treat each other with respect and as equals, much less are we going to do so with animals.
    As far as abortion goes, look, for some reason this is a long-going issue even though the courts decided it decades ago we are still having to fight states that oppress a woman’s right to chose. Like in Mississippi where there is but one abortion clinic available due to the hatred and ignorance of politics there. In the South, doctors get slaughtered for performing abortions. If god is your backing, please justly rationalize those people’s actions. You can’t. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all fine and dandy here in California. Every abortion clinic out there has a slew of people outside protesting with grotesque signs up while women walk into the clinics. It’s disgusting what people do outside of abortion clinics…. not inside.

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