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Philosophical Point of View on Animal Rights


The argument over animal rights has heated up in recent years. Many studies have criticized whether animals have some rights at all and whether humans have the fundamental obligation to oppress animals in any way they see fit. Developments in biotechnology and scientific diagnostics have only added fuel to the fire of the animal rights argument. The majority of the justifications for or against animal protection have been based on philosophical principles. Peter Singer, Carl Cohen, and Tom Reagan are three philosophers who have published about this contentious topic. The three have authored works that take diverse approaches to these concerns. This essay seeks to synthesize the three philosophers’ primary ideas, examining their similarities, contrasts, and even points of conflict.


Tom Reagan, a professor of philosophy at a State University, contended in his book “The Case of Human Rights” that all creatures on the planet who have a life of conceptual wellbeing unintentionally have inherent meaning or value that demands fair treatment from fellow humans and gives them the right to equal treatment in this manner. Reagan asserts that all living creatures with personality and cognitive knowledge are entitled to full moral rights. Animal experimentation, the leather market, and industrial animal husbandry should all be abolished, according to him. These three fields, he claims, cause immense unfairness and must therefore be disbanded promptly. However, Reagan did not specify which animals possess these features, but organisms belonging to the species diversity category, such as vertebrates, meet his requirements.

Carl Cohen claims that people are confused about the difference between rights and responsibilities. Personal freedoms are built on the moral world of people, and as a result, the feature’s force and usefulness are limited to this world. People, as per Cohen, act as moral beings, and moral norms prevent them from treating animals inhumanely. This does not, however, imply that man should refrain from engaging in or conducting any other activity that may endanger these species. As a result, Cohen’s main point is that the notion of rights is humankind in nature and, as a result, it does not relate to animals. As a result, animals cannot be claimed to have any privileges.

Peter Singer is another expert who has published on the subject, and he appears to share Reagan’s viewpoint, though his explanation is presented in a completely different way. His reasoning is founded on the utilitarian rationale, and he claims that the agony that creatures go through on the field during the butchering operation significantly surpasses the nutrition and delight that the flesh of this animal provides to man. He expands this argument to laboratory animals, arguing that the anguish they undergo significantly surpasses their use as experimental groups. These activities, according to Singer, have grave moral repercussions and so deserve to be outlawed. Singer, on the other hand, falls short of expressly advocating for animal rights. Although he does not openly assert that animals have freedom, his logic sends the sense that he fully supports animal welfare.

Despite the fact that Singer’s approach is identical to Regan’s, the two have substantial distinctions. Singer’s reasoning, for instance, is utilitarian, but Regan’s is not. While Singer’s theory suggests that creatures have the same liberties as humans, Regan contends that animals only have moral rights to specific advantages and privileges. Between the two views, there is a point of agreement that animals have a basic right to exist as well as a right to be free of harmful and unpleasant body intrusion. Cohen, on the other hand, is a noteworthy author who fiercely opposes the grant of any privileges to animals.


The discussion over animal protection is expected to rage on for many years, and there will undoubtedly be even more divergent viewpoints. Singer, Cohen, and Regan all have distinct perspectives on this topic, as illustrated. There is, however, some overlap between Singer and Regan’s points of thought, as both advocate animal rights in some form, albeit Singer does not expressly assert that animals have liberties. Cohen is the odd man out, as he opposes animal rights in the first place. He believes that rights are exclusively human in character and that applying them to animals would be a misapplication of the term. Although Singer and Regan are staunch opponents of practices such as scientific research that damage animals and cause them significant misery, Cohen is a strong supporter of such practices that he sees as important in the accomplishment of success that would better people’s lives. As a result, it seems that the animal liberation argument is far from ended.

The state should really endeavor to enlighten people about the need of treating animals with respect by conducting animal protection initiatives, education programs, and conferences. Regulations must be enacted to safeguard tortured animals, and anybody who doesn’t respect these creatures’ rights should face legal consequences. We would be able to raise a society that values courtesy and compassion for all creatures in this way.

Works Cited

“The Animal Rights Debate – Philosophical Arguments.” – Animals, Moral, Humans, and Cohen. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <>.

Cohen, C, and T. Regan. The animal rights debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001. Print.

Regan, T, and P. Singer. “All Animal Are Equal.” Animal rights and human obligations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976. Print.

Regan, Tom. The case for animal rights. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Print.


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