Singer on Animal Rights

If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering – in so far as rough comparisons can be made – of any other being. If a being is not capable of suffering or of experiencing enjoyment or happiness, there is nothing to be taken into account. This is why the limit of sentience (using the term as a convenient, if not strictly accurate, shorthand for the capacity to suffer or experience enjoyment or happiness) is the only defensible boundary of concern for the interests of others. To mark this boundary by some characteristic like intelligence or rationality would be to mark it in an arbitrary way. Why not choose some other characteristic, like skin color?”
The above extract is taken from All Animals Are Equal by Peter Singer (Regan, T & Singer, P – Animal Rights and Human Obligations (1989), New Jersey pp 148-162). See full article and see relevant extract starting from “If a being suffers …” to “just in case something turns up.”







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