By Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton units out a compelling account of ways we should always take into consideration the morality of our relations to different animals. He argues that it truly is incorrect to think that animals immediately have rights, yet indicates we owe them tasks counting on no matter if we're treating them as pets, for laboratory experiments or for meat. this can be crucial interpreting within the mild of the hot public trouble over concerns equivalent to veal calf exportation and the BSE concern>
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The moral law We do not need to accept Kant’s sublime derivation of the categorical imperative in order to recognise that human beings tend spontaneously to agree about the morality of inter-personal relations. As soon as we set our own interests aside and look on human relations with the eye of the impartial judge, we find ourselves agreeing over the rights and wrongs in any conf lict. Whatever their philosophical basis, the following principles of practical reasoning are accepted by all reasonable people: ● ● ● ● ● ● the principle of moral equality, which means that considerations which justify or impugn one person will, in identical circumstances, justify or impugn another rights are to be respected obligations are to be fulfilled agreements are to be honoured disputes are to be settled by rational argument and not by force persons who do not respect the rights of others forfeit rights of their own.
We are motivated by fellow-feeling, by love of virtue and hatred of vice, by a sense of helplessness and dependence which finds relief in piety, and by a host of socially-engendered feelings which have no place in the serene dispensations of a ‘Holy Will’. Hence conf licts and dilemmas arise. The attraction of utilitarianism lies in the promise to resolve all these conf licts by construing moral judgement as a kind of economic calculus. But the promise is illusory and the effect of believing it repulsive.
Animals 97 1/5/03 1:35 pm Page 33 Life, death, joy and suffering Individuals The argument that I have just given does not imply that all non-moral animals enjoy the same status from the point of view of the moral being. It is as right and natural to pity the gasping fish on the strand as the wounded stag at bay. But it is impossible for us to relate to fish as individuals – that is to say, with sentiments which single out the particular from the general. Yet, between the dog and the ape on the one hand, and the fish and the ant on the other, there is a host of animals which, while entertaining only a dim conception of the rival merits of individual humans, or while even looking on humans as we do on ants, as interchangeable parts of a collective nuisance, have a keen conception of the individuality of other members of their species.
Animal Rights And Wrongs by Roger Scruton