Animals and Ethics

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Question 1

Singer argues that all human beings should be treated equally on the basis of good morals. Even though human beings belong to different races and have different personalities, they are equal. For this reason, it is important for the interests of all to be treated equally.

In regard to animals, it is also important to extend the principle of equality to all since it is also a principle of nature in addition to the fact that it is based on good morals. Human beings show interest in the issues of the people who are weaker and less intelligent than them. In the same way, they should take the rights of animals into consideration since all animals are weaker and less intelligent.

Question 2

Human beings do not eat human flesh because of the interpersonal relationships that exist between members of the society and not because of the consideration that eating human flesh causes distress and inflicts pain on the victims being slaughtered for food. The argument that killing people for food inflicts pain on them is not applicable in cases where the one is already dead. In a similar way, vegetarians do not eat meat from a dead cow or a lamb that has been smitten by lighting even though this act does not violate the rights of the animal in any way. Thus they fail to give the real reason on their choice of diets because morals cannot be applied in these cases.


Diamond argues that terms like² friend ² or ²pet ²are morally thick. The act of assigning names or titles to people or animals shows that human beings have a deeper connection with them that goes way past the simple position of good morals in treating others shows that people recognize that people treat others right because they recognize that there is a relationship between them and an emotional connection that is not defined by the moral system of a society.

This argument disqualifies the argument that animals should not be slaughtered for food and that eating meat is morally wrong .It stands against Singers arguments that the principle of equal consideration of the interest of others should be extended to animals since mistreating animals is equal to mistreating human beings who are weaker than we are.

Question 4

Sometimes, we can give particular accounts of how particular thick concepts came to apply to something or someone, it would not provide generalizable criteria by which to determine why some things come to have the concept applied to them and others don’t. For instance, Diamond adopts the concept of moral thickness to try to give an explanation of how the decision on whether to eat meat or not goes beyond the idea of right or wrong actions. Using this concept she succeeds in criticizing the argument that Singer gives on why people should be vegetarians. Subsequently, she shows how the application of morals on the whole issue brings conflicting results because it is shallow. Even though she succeeds in showing that people don’t eat human flesh and their pets because of the connection they have with them and the value they attach to them, her argument does not give a precise conclusion on the issue and it does not give a method to use for one to make an informed decision on whether it is right for a person to eat meat or not.

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