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Essay: Is Eating Meat Morally Wrong? A Rights-Based Perspective

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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  • Words: 1,076 (approx)
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Yes, it is wrong to eat meat because the consumption of meat violates the fundamental dogma that all living beings have a right to life. The breeding and killing of animals for human consumption is morally wrong. Due to the fact that animals that are breaded for food are simply being used, rather than being treated with respect. In the “Philosophy of Food Project” eating meat is explained as “a mere means to an end” (Kaplan), meaning life is simply being used just for a result/outcome without consideration or respect to the induvial life itself. Many consider non-human animals to be without rights and are subjective to be a means to an end. However, let’s consider what makes a being an end in themselves; 1. An ability to have conscious choice 2. Possession of desires, intentions, and preferences.  Non-human animals are conscious beings that have feelings and social associations. Studies demonstrate that cows, pigs, chickens, and all warm-blooded creatures can encounter pressure, torment, and dread and yet roughly 30 million cows, 120 million pigs, and 10 billion birds are slaughtered for food each year in the United States alone. Being a subject-to-life goes hand in hand with inherent values – meaning that beings are valuable and are entitled rights. Non-human animals are subject-to-life because they have comparable levels of organic multifaceted nature, they are cognizant and mindful that they exist, they comprehend what is transpiring, they favor a few things and aversion others, they settle on cognizant decisions, they live so as to give themselves the best personal satisfaction, they design their lives to some degree and lastly quality and length of their life matters to them. This argument is right-based because it is based on the issue of violation of rights and is in disregard to the specific consequences that come about eating meat. Furthermore, this argument of eating meat is rights-based because there are some rights, both positive and negative, that all intelligent living beings have. These rights are thought to be natural or conventional, in this argumentative stance, violation of natural rights is the issue at hand. To continue, natural rights are those that are moral in nature, compared conventional rights which are manmade rights constructed in order to mirror values that a collective society feels fit.

No, it is not wrong to eat meat because animals do not have any rights. Non-human animals can’t have rights on the grounds that the idea of rights is inherit only to humans. While we have obligations to animals to treat them empathetically and to not abuse them, not all obligations bring forth from rights in the way that all rights accompany obligations. Carl Cohen ends confusion about the idea that humans have an obligation to non-human animals, but animals do not possess rights, by asserting “It is the difference between what we think we ought to do, and what others (in this case the animals) can justly demand we do” (Regan). This stance demonstrates that rights are associated to the capacity to request something that one supposes is naturally theirs, yet without the capacity to request such rights, one can have no rights by any stretch of the imagination. The capacity to decide appropriate from wrong, and the capacity to guarantee a right, is the thing that makes an ethical patient unequipped for doing what is said to not be right. Then again, moral specialists, are things that can completely comprehend the profound quality of an activity and settle on a choice based on that comprehension. It is this intellectual capacity that gives us as humans – natural rights. It is anything but difficult to see that the absence of psychological capacity, and along these lines the absence of rights implies that the best enthusiasm of the animal ought to be considered with a lesser weight than the people. It is this thought which enables me to claim that utilitarians are wrong, as the death of the animal does not exceed the benefit by eating that creature. Asserting that animals don’t have any rights and that it’s ethically admissible to eat them, doesn’t justify nor allow humans to treat animals in any manner we want. That people still have the obligation to treat creatures in a compassionate manner. All things considered, asserting that animals are unequipped for having rights, because of their powerlessness to settle on moral choices, makes a solid contention for the consumption of meat while making it clear that animals are not simply subject to whatever we want. Philosophers who believe animals do have rights often times inaccurately slide between two distinct implications inherent values. The primary implication is utilized as a part of characterizing human’s capacity to reason and think at a larger amount than some other living thing, it is this inherent value that makes people moral. The second implication of the term inherent value is characterized by the uniqueness of each living thing, and the failure for induvial living things to be displaced. Sliding forward and backward between the two implications of inherent value without clarity in which implication is being utilized, philosophers can erroneously guarantee that animals, because of inherent values, have rights. This argument in whole is also right-based rather than utilitarian – because it focuses natural rights rather than overall consequences from behavior.

Extra Credit

Personally, the utilitarian point of view is the most sound argument for why eating meat is ethically wrong, due to the fact it is a sensible and logical argument from a rudimental level. By believing that all creatures have the privilege to live, to not experience torment and enduring, and through the idea of utility and the greater good, utilitarians form a simple logical step by step argument. To begin, every living thing has the privilege to live, and not encounter agony and enduring. Secondly, all living things must be considered while considering the utility of an action. Thirdly, an action is just ethically reasonable, in the event that it amplifies the utilities of all those influenced by the action. Utilizing these criteria’s, utilitarians can undoubtedly guarantee that eating meat isn’t right, on the grounds that the torment and the suffering experienced by the animal dying, is far more awful than the benefit that we get from eating it. Given that the utilitarian contention is such an intelligent one, and by expressing that all beings have natural rights, utilitarians present a solid defense for why eating meat is ethically wrong.

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