Analysis: “All Animals are Equal” by Peter Singer
Peter Singer in his article “All Animals are Equal” aims to challenge the way that society at large treats and perceives non-human sentient beings. He suggests that animals should be treated with the same principles of equality that humans receive. In his view, not giving equal consideration to animals is the same as justifying human discrimination such as racism and sexism. This view is based on his logical reasoning that human equality is not based on any factual properties. He points out that there are many physiological traits that separate humans, these traits can be used to justify human discrimination. Since as a society we consider these physical differences a mute point for equality amongst each other, Singer infers that physiological differences cannot be used as a property of any kind of discrimination, that equality is a moral idea; therefore animals should be given the same rights as humans.
The situation Singer finds himself in is that speciesism is the cultural norm existent in modern society and in his opinion, contemporary philosophers are failing to make the connection that speciesism justifies human discrimination. He even goes as far to compare the discourse of speciesism to that of former slave owners. Utilitarianism is the main idea that he uses to oppose the idea of specism. In order to support this view he brings in the ideas of philosophers Jeremy Bentham and Henry Sidgwick, further solidifying his argument for equal consideration. Singer aims his argument toward philosophers who suggest speciesism is a moral right. He specifically argues against philosophers such as William Frankena, Stanley Benn, and other Humanists who believe in the “intrinsic dignity of Human beings”.