The Ethical Treatment of Animals Rachael Deragon SOC 120 Ethics and Social Responsibility Instructor: Dr. Jonathan Brooks October 28th, 2013 PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way. This is without a doubt a very sensitive subject for most people. Some may feel strongly one way or the other, or maybe they only feel strongly about one or two of the categories I will discuss in this paper. I will touch on five main categories dealing with ethical treatment of animals.
Animal testing, furs and leathers, animals used for food, animal abuse, and the animal entertainment business are Just some these categories. I also will discuss the good, bad, and ugly of two of the largest charities for animals, PETA and the Humane Society of the United States. Chemical testing is one of the first that comes to mind when discussing animal testing. Many household cleaners, makeup, and hair care products of every type are Just a few. Those types of companies contain the largest amount of animals testing were pharmaceutical companies take up the smallest percentage.
Rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, rats, and mice are mong the more commonly used testing animals. While many of these animals are breed in the labs they are used in, some of these companies obtain them from shelters. Many will argue that using animals for testing saves human lives, however, many countries have outlawed animal testing and there has been no rise in human deaths since these laws went into effect. Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are a few countries that have banned animal testing. There are many alternatives these days to using animals for torture.
Some believe that most of the chemicals being tested already have a proven track record and so there is no need or further testing. Also, there are now computer programs that can be installed that will give the same results. These companies can also use what is called a chemical assay test which is a procedure in chemistry that tests the activity of an element on a a chemical element. In a nutshell, it is the analysis of chemical properties. Testing can also be done by using donation tissues, cell and organ cultures, or even with cloned human skin tissue.
Here are some animal testing statistics commonly cited by those on both sides of the issue. The approximate number of animals used in research, each year, is 17 to 22 million. Five billion animals each year are killed and consumed for food. Rodents constitute 85 to 90 percent of the research animals. The United Kingdom has banned cosmetic testing since 1990. The debate regarding animal testing will likely continue. Both sides of the argument say their position is safer and more eco-conscious. For those who want to limit animal testing, using products that contain all-natural ingredients instead of chemical-laden ones is an alternative.
In April, a coalition of animal rights organizations sued the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency failed to respond to a petition the group iled more than two years ago. The petition calls for the FDA to require cosmetic and biotech laboratories to use alternatives to animal testing when available . This however seems to rarely be enforced, all about who you know and who you have lobbying for you or with you. Furs, that is a touchy subject for sure. PETA is well known for their dramatic points made by attacking celebrities with paint.
It is fairly well known in this day and age that the animals raised for these furs are treated unfairly, to be nice, from the day they are born. They are raised in cages, in cramped conditions only to then die horrific deaths. They are slammed on concrete, hit with bats and even… and unfortunately very commonly, skinned alive. They are thrown to the ground and left to suffer an unbelievably painful slow death. Ducks and geese are raised to only be culled for feathers for warm comforters on our beds and in our pillows and winter coats. Snake and alligator skin is commonly used still for boots, shoes, purses, and wallets.
It seems to never end and we, as humans, think these animals are here to Just be tortured so we can look wealthy and fashionable. Our ancestors may have used furs for warmth but the meat was also fed to their families and it wasn’t for vanity. In 2009, a documentary called The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos, followed Ric O’Barry on his quest to bring more attention to the dolphin hunting and capturing in TaiJi, Japan. Ric O’Barry was the trainer for five of the dolphins in a 1960’s television show called Flipper. He later became an activist and was a part of the Sea Sheppard team.
The small cove is a place dolphins come by when they have Just given birth and are going to better feeding grounds. The Japanese will trap the dolphins in the cove, and then separate the adults from the babies. At this same time, trainers from all over the world pay large amounts of oney to stand there and wait for a baby to be caught and sold to them. These are for the entertainment industry, aquariums, as well as marine parks like Sea World. Many of the parents can be heard crying out for days for their lost baby and others killed for meat even though it contains dangerously high levels of mercury.
Zoos aren’t much better; they often bid very high amounts of money to obtain the animals needed to bring in the biggest amount of visitors. Silver back gorillas, African and Siberian tigers, rhinos, polar bears and the list goes on of endangered animal’s otting away in cages at zoos for our entertainment and someone else’s pocketbook. Amazing the amount of ethical egoists that profit from defenseless animals, makes raised and set aside, the question of what one owes to a particular animal that one voluntarily brings into one’s life is separate from the question of whether one should bring that animal into one’s life .
Is it permissible, morally, to make a companion of a wild animal such as a boa constrictor, deer, or tiger? We have all heard the stories of people who think they have a connection to a wild animal like a chimpanzee or tiger nly to have the end result being a mauling or death. The animal is then put down and how fair is that to these animals? Wild animals should be in the wild and stay there, we as humans have no right to treat them as domesticated pets and cage them. Even our domestic animals are many times put in miserable situations.
Animal hoarders, and puppy mills, and those who don’t spay or neuter their animals and let them run are Just a few examples. We currently have an adored and famous NFL player that was imprisoned for fghting pit bulls. He is now supposedly reformed and wants to own dogs again because he claims his children want one. Michael Vick organized fghts between dogs to fght to the death, or almost for money. It did not matter though, if they lose and live, they are beaten to death, shot, or electrocuted in the very pool his children swim in.
The smaller dogs born, or even puppies are used often as “bait dogs” and usually die Just as a pawn or catalyst to irritate the dogs that will be fighting. This is the world we live in, again full of the ever present ethical egoist. No care for this poor animal that simply wanted to be loved; only the money that can and will be made off of them. Many who feel that eating animals is wrong become vegans. I personally can not imagine not having meat and eggs but I do eat almost all my meats from animals I have raised organically and euthanized humanely. It was how I was raised, so I believe some would say I fit into the category of relativism.
The view of ethical relativism regards values as determined by one’s own ethical standards, often those provided by one’s own culture and background . I justify what others could not ever do by the way I was raised. Many slaughter houses exist for the big meat and poultry companies and the animals are treated Just as poorly as the others I have spoken about already. The conditions are disgusting, dirty, cramped, and Just disheartening. They are fed antibiotics and hormones to grow fast and large. Then they are killed in violent manners that run the gamut of vile and disgusting for monetary values.
Many animals grow in such cramped conditions that many grow with deformed legs and are unable to walk. Fast food restaurants are some of the worst, Kentucky Fried Chicken being one that has had its headlines over the years. They are living in waste filled pens, cramped and drugged. They have their throats slit and are dumped into scalding water as they still live. This is so cruel, many have advised them to change the way they do this and KFC has refused all suggestions. A hundred years ago this would not have been tolerated, this what industrialization and globalization has made our country and our world come to… orture of those less able, to feed our needs and fill others pockets; boiling chickens alive. Many may find it difficult to believe that PETA has kill shelters, but that is exactly the case. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), reported that this last year PETA shelters euthanized nearly ninety percent of the animals it had rescued . The CEO, Ingrid Newkirk, said in a statement that they could become non-kill shelters tonight, however then they wouldn’t be able to hire celebrities for their has faltered. I cannot imagine that the animals dying for PETA’s ability to have photo shoots with the Kardashians makes the death all the more noble.
The current CEO of the Human Society is Wayne Pacelle. His name has been in the news as of late because of the numerous crimes against animals he has been said to commit, as well as fraud. Also his tight friendship with NFL player Michael Vick after his indiscretions had come to light regarding dog fghting. He spear headed fund raising for both the care of Vicks surviving victims and the animals rescued after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and both times the money that was raised was for false pretenses. It is said that currently, any money donated to the HSUS, the animals benefit from less than one percent of this.
No matter where you stand in regards to animal cruelty, you have to admit that with the information directly in front of you, you realize no animal deserves this treatment. Whether it’s a rodent or a whale, a domestic pet or wild animal, they all deserve our protection and all that we can do to ensure they live long, healthy, happy ives without fear of being tortured, humiliated, and murdered. If nothing else, we should at least try not to compound the problem. No one is perfect, and we all can not be the model of PETA, even PETA.
Sure, I eat meat. I eat what I raise and know it was taken care of, fed healthy, and euthanized humanely. I was raised that you treat animals the same way you would a human, they deserve no less. I will not wear furs but I have in the past, same goes for leather. I give to my local animal shelter and no longer to big charity organizations. I typically don’t use products that use animal esting, but I have not researched every product before I buy it. I have never condoned zoos or anything of the type and feel even more strongly about that now.
I refused to allow my children to go to them for class field trips even. So I am not perfect, and after watching the videos I did to research this paper, I will try harder to research the products I use in my home, and the foods my family eats from fast food to super markets. I have always been a very out-of-sight, out-of-mind type of person. Knowing what I did before, and what I do now, I will never be able to remove the knowledge and images from my mind. We should all do what we can to save even one animal in our lifetimes.
If you were looking at this from the perspective of virtue ethics, and were to look at the character of Ingrid Newkirk or Wayne Pacelle, they would not fare well. Their character is much more related to the ethical egoist, they are in it for themselves and what they can get out of those who care for animals. PETA will make their outrageous acts of political/environmental terrorism but they will not save the lives of approximately two thousand animals in 2012. I now believe that there is nothing more profitable then a non-profit organization.
I have lost almost all hope in humanity, it is primal that there is always a hierarchy in everything, but all of these people fall into the lowest form of life and we would be a better world without them. Brooks, M. (2012 ). The truth about animal testing. New Statesman, 14. Retrieved from: http://search. proquest. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/science]ournals/docview/ 223109689/141 OF68F25417AOCE36/2naccountid=32521 Burgess-Jackson, K. (1998 Doing Right by Our Animal Companions. The Journal of Ethics, 159-185 . Retrieved from: http://www. Jstor. org/stable/2511 5576 Consumer Freedom: http:// www. nsumerfreedom. com/2012/01 [its-time-to-put-down-petal Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics & Social Responsibility. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Psihoyos, L. (Director). (2009). The Cove [Motion Picture]. Unknown. (2012, January 23). It’s Time to Put Down PETA. Retrieved from The Center For Consumer Freedom: http://www. consumerfreedom. com/2012/01 [its-time-to-put- down-petal Westly, E. (2010). Animal rights activists try a more creative legal tactic. Nature Medicine, 501 . Retreived from: http://web. ebscohost. com. proxy- library. ashford. edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=31a13fe4-e084-4f24-b571-