Part III: Non-anthropocentrism

ENS 205 By Dr. Elsa Sattout

Animal Liberation & Utilitarianism

1. 2.

4. i. ii. iii. iv.


What is biocentrism? Revisiting: Biocentrism vs. ecocentrism Biocentrism: Utilitarian vs. Deontological ethics Utilitarianism: Cruelty towards animals: Animal husbandry & Meat industry/Bullfight and Rodeos Eco-destructive side of meat production Replacement argument Animals in research Speciessism and species conservation approach Conclusion


Biocentrism  It is literally life-centered  It is associated with ‘an attitude of respect for nature’ It is to regard the wild plants and animals of the Earth’s natural ecosystems as possessing inherent worth. That such creatures have inherent worth may be considered the fundamental value presupposition of the attitude of respect   .

but also relations with other members Every such organism is an individual pursuing its own kind of good Humans are not inherently superior to other organisms Respect should be accorded to all organisms. and on the same terms. consists of a system of interdependence comprising not only physical conditions. 4.Biocentrism  1. alike that is unconditionally . 3. There are 4 related aspects to biocentric outlook: Humans are members of the community of life in the same sense. human or otherwise. 2. of which humans are a part. as other living things That community.

Non-anthropocentrism Biocentrism vs. Ecocentrism .

air and fire    Ecosystems thus comprise a complex ongoing dance of interrelationships not only with other organisms but with the non-organic world .e. organisms. Ecocentrism  Biocentrism: life itself is a value. in practice nonhuman animals  Ecocentrism is the more inclusive concept and value than Biocentrism Life is itself dependent on components aptly summarized in the ancient symbolic elements of earth. in all its forms i.e. Zoocentrism: The principal locus of value is animals i. water.Biocentrism Vs.

Moral worth of animals .

Since they are not part of the kingdom of moral legislators. We should be kind to them since that will help develop good character in us and help us treat our fellow human beings with greater consideration Our duties to animals are simply indirect duties to other human beings    . selfconscious beings capable of grasping the moral law.Rational being alone have moral worth (Kant. 1724-1804)  Animals are not persons because they are not rational. we who are members of that kingdom do not owe them anything.

Deontological ethic .Animal rights: Two moral defenses Utilitarian vs.

have interests    The frustration of these interests leads to suffering Utilitarianism seeks to maximize the satisfaction of interests whether they be those of humans or animals Allow some animal experimentation  .Utilitarian: Moral worth of animals (Peter Singer)  What makes beings morally considerable is not reason but sentience All sentient creatures have the ability to suffer and. as such.

good or bad. It is irrelevant who receives the pleasure and pain.  . according to the experiences of beings capable of experience.Utilitarian  According to the utilitarian theory. Pleasure is good. Two things should be emphasized: 1. 2. Long-term effects are just as important as more immediate effects. and pain is bad. actions are right or wrong. regardless of who experiences it [Altruistic].

and the total abolition of animal experiments   . and so on … link all animals and the human animal and thereby give us equal intrinsic value upon which equal rights are founded No rights to experiment on animals. desires.Deontological (Tom Regan)  The equal position on animal rights contends that the same essential psychological properties. intelligence. Calls for total dissolution of commercial animal farming. the total elimination of hunting and trapping. Animals like humans are ends in themselves so utility is not sufficient to override these rights. memory.

1983)    Total abolition of the use of animals in science Total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture Total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping .Advocate of Animal Rights (Regan.

 What is needed is an amelioration of existing large-scale farms and safeguards in animal experimentation to ensure against unnecessary suffering . G.Utilitarian & Deontological animal rights: Attacked R. Argued that:  Because of the greater complexity of human psyche and its social system. utility will be maximized by exploiting animals. Frey.

Cruelty towards animals .

Cruelty to animals  We will explore concern for animals from a utilitarian perspective and examines the adequacy of utilitarianism as an ethical theory.  . good or bad. Reminder: Ethical theories explain in general terms what makes any action right or wrong.

This is done even though the pink colors adds nothing to the taste of the veal  They are fed on powdered milk.Animal husbandry White calves  Calves are taken from their mothers when they are just a few days old  Calves are confined in small wooden stalls to prevent exercise and develop muscles  Calves spend all their life [16 weeks] confined in the stall  They do not feed on grass and hay [they are intentionally made anemic]. vitamins and growth-producing drugs .

pork. 3. 4.Animal husbandry  1. . 2. chicken or eggs what you find in the grocery store almost always results from revolting cruelty to animals. USDA suggests tail docking Porcine stress syndrome (death) Whether it is beef. Factory farming is cruel [Singer] Modifying animal’s environment for maximum profit Tail docking because of antisocial behavior (sign of stress):rather than recommending stress relief.

5. Toxic chemical residues in the food chain Pharmaceutical additives in animal feeds Polluting chemicals and animal wastes from feedlot runoff in waterways and underground aquifers Loss of topsoil caused by patterns of relentless grazing Domestic and foreign deforestation and desertification resulting from the clearing of land for grazing and cultivating animal feed Threatened habitats of wild species of plants and animals Intensive exploitation of water and energy supplies Ozone depletion caused by extensive use of fossil fuels and significant production of methane gas by cattle . 4. 3. 7. 8.Eco-destructive side of the meat industry 1. 6. 2.

then tightened unbearably to provoke tame horses to go ‘loco’ in excruciating agony Electric pods used to agitate horses to a crazy state of pain and fear so that they put on a good show  .Rodeos & bullfights  A Bucking strap placed in the area of the small intestines and kidneys.

which causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals. It is usually expressed as the amount of chemical administered (e. given all at once. Toxicologists can use many kinds of animals but most often testing is done with rats and mice.g..  . milligrams) per 100 grams (for smaller animals) or per kilogram (for bigger test subjects) of the body weight of the tested animal. The LD50 is one way to measure the short-term poisoning potential (acute toxicity) of a material.Animal & Research    LD 50 test used in conducting toxicity research LD50 is the amount of a material.

EPA’s toxicology branch recorded 16. the substance being examined is administered to research animals in increasing doses to discover the level at which 50 % level is reached with relatively low doses These animals are forced-fed and injected via feeding tubes or needles Due in large parts to the protests of animal right activists. the LD50 test is prohibited in some countries .Animal & Research     In 1987.000 LD50 tests In LD50 tests.

This is called replacement argument because it says happy animals should be killed painlessly and replaced by other happy animals  . kill them painlessly. enjoy the food and then replace the animals killed with other animals leading pleasant lives.The replacement argument  Utilitarianism calls for people to raise animals humanely.

If these methods are disallowed. .Vegetarianism    The current treatment of livestock is the cheapest way to raise animals and kill them. not to mention luxuries. This will reduce pleasure among people who want low prices on food so they have money left over to spend on other necessities. prices for meat and eggs will increase.

Being altruist. counting their own pleasure and pain as no more or less important than anyone’s else’s. utilitarian try to produce maximum pleasure and minimum pain.Utilitarian & Altruist  Altruists count their own good and that of others are equally important.  .

 . religion or nationality. This accords with utilitarian’s highest moral aspirations.Utilitarianism & Cost Benefit Analysis   Similar as both recommends actions that maximize net good and rely on mathematical calculations to identify those actions Both endorse maximizing the total net good (happiness in one case and wealth in other) without concern for how the good is distributed (equally or not) Utilitarians value human well being regardless of race.

We cannot measure accurately one person’s pleasure against another person’s pleasure (or pain). .Preference utilitarianism    The goal of preference utilitarians is to maximize not pleasure or happiness but the satisfaction of preferences Because preferences often conflict. we need to evaluate their relative strength. The same is true for preferences when they are viewed as internal psychological states.

Speciesism A prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species (By Singer)  Analogous to both racism and sexism (By Singer)  .

Conclusion  Environmental ethics requires more than simply a concern for animals We need to consider the moral status of ecological communities and about our role in those communities A shift to holistic and truly non-anthropocentric ethics requires a fairly radical break from tradition   .