The instances presented by Singer boils down to one of his primary claims, that people cannot say that animals don’t suffer since they manifest actions and behavior that are very similar to that of ours. Citing studies that was conducted to explore animal behavior like that of Jane Goddall’s, and pointing out things like animals being biologically similar to human beings in relevant aspects was used by Singer to support his claim that animals are essentially similar to human beings. (Singer) The essay turned out to be a bit of an absurdity.
What the animal rights activists struggle for is understandable, but only to a certain point. It is comprehensible that animals should not be used as an ingredient for creating fabric or more specifically, the fur, which is used as a status symbol for many people, because these are things that we can live without and are basically products of mere whims. But to say that an effort to save certain species of birds for ecological balance is hypocritical because we don’t the same for chickens is illogical.
There are explanations that are completely valid for prohibiting the slaughter of certain animals. However, killing chickens or cows for food is necessary for a human being’s survival, to be able to deal with the demands of their lives, more so for a construction worker. Animals cannot speak thus, they cannot demand for rights that must be reserved to them and Singer claims that the absence of language should not be something that should be held against the animals, for they too, like us, suffer (Singer).
Indeed they do, but what are the human beings supposed to do about that if their life depended on a beef steak diet? We would not really expect grizzly bears to just stand at a distance and stare at human beings because their natural reaction is to attack. Thus, animals, unlike us, don’t possess the character of being able to contemplate on whether what they are doing is right or wrong. That is what separates us from them, at least most of us. Singer seems to go beyond reason with how he justified the “speciest attitude” that most people possess nowadays.
He made as an example the appellations given to dogs that are not fit to attack in a dog fight as a “cur” and if the case is otherwise, they are revered and regarded as someone who owns “gameness” (Singer) . Frankly speaking, due to their apparent “ignorance” over things as such, the dogs most probably would not be grateful or offended if they found themselves in that situation. If somebody would even be slightly affected, then that would probably be the owners themselves.
Come to think of it, it would actually be an offense to the human being which in fact would be defeating the idea of “speciesm” or the discrimination of non-human beings. If we must apply the phrase “survival of the fittest” to contradict Singer’s claim, then one way or another, the speciest connotation is conquered. The human beings have ways to survive the world where many species co-exist, and humans use their strength for their advantage, their ability to think, be rational and achieve what is best for them. The same is most likely true in the animal kingdom.
Thus, assuming humans cannot think, and that they live in forests surrounded by animals that can kill them in a heartbeat, then we can conclude that all is fair and well for all beings. Unfortunately, humans can think, and they are smart enough to avoid such kind of danger. It’s too bad that humans don’t have the strength of an elephant or the killing instinct of a bear. On the other hand, it’s too bad that animals cannot think like humans. Why should humans be prohibited to kill pigs just so that they won’t suffer, if snakes, which are essentially the same creature can swallow humans?
Unfortunately humans know how to get away, because that is our nature. Each and every specie has their own nature, and most of us use it for our benefit. Thus, by judging the premise, we actually live in a non-speciest world. To quote Voltaire, “Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills. ”
Courtney from Study Moose
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