Are there any difference between environmental ethics for humans and animals?

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Are there any difference between environmental ethics for humans and animals?

Category: Character Analysis Essay

Subcategory: Bioengineering

Level: Academic

Pages: 2

Words: 550

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Are there any difference between environmental ethics for humans and animals?
One of the most fundamental questions that can be asked in Environmental Ethics is if there exists a difference between the environmental ethics for humans and animals. If an individual’s answer is that human beings will perish if we do not limit our actions towards the environment, particularly nature, that that line of ethic is as ‘anthropocentric. This theory is interpreted to mean ‘human-centeredness,’ and in this sense, this ethics must be regarded as anthropocentric. What this means is that human beings are superior to nature and therefore, as long as anything they are doing id beneficial to them, even if it is detrimental to plants and animals, is right. The general history of Western philosophy is by this line of thinking. However, it has come under massive attack from a considerable number of environmental ethicists. These thinkers have those environmental ethics should go beyond humanity and should instead be extended to the non-human world. On the other hand, some have claimed that these environmental ethics should be extended to incorporate individual organisms, others to sentiment animals, and others to entities that are holistic such as ecosystems, species, and rivers. These two opposing views have been subject to a lot of debates, and that is why I chose this subject. The aim of this paper will be to evaluate these theories and establish if there exists any form of a difference between environmental ethics for humans and animals.
Before we verge deep into the ethical question, it would be reasonable first to identify a few case studies of how various institutions tackle the issue under discussion. For this part, this paper will utilize two case studies. One example of an institution that uses is subject to this environmental question is the scientific field where animals are as subjects for experimentation. Most of these experiments cause suffering and pain to animals and also reduces their life quality in more ways (New Internationalist 1). Consequently, this issue has become a leading cause of debate some ‘anthropocentric,’ aligned thinkers arguing for experimental testing due to the human benefit it produces while other thinkers are arguing against it because it imposes a lot of unnecessary suffering to animals. In light of this, many institutions have issues directives on animals testing such as the EU, an organization that proposed directives aimed at improving welfares of animals being utilized for scientific experimentation. This issue is similar to the case of the Penguins in Baxter’s book. In his book, Baxter argues that even if the substance being used by humans to produce food is detrimental to animals, it is justified because it is beneficial to humans and humans should be concerned only with what is beneficial to them (Baxter 2).
Another example is the issue of polyethylene bags; it is beneficial to humans but causes many problems with animals. It is that plastic bags has caused many problems to nature such as plastic pollution, some of which end up in oceans and affect aquatic animals. It is even known to cause the death of animals if ingested. Accordingly, various organizations have tried to curb this. One example is Trader Joe’s, which offers its customers raffle tickets for free groceries if they bring their bags (McNamee 1). By Peter Singer’s argument can be utilized to argue against this problem. In his argument, Peter Singer argues that there should be equal consideration of the interest of both humans and non-humans (Singer 15). Accordingly, it would be unfair to use something that is detrimental to animals while beneficial to us.
Various ethical schools can be applied to this debate to justify a decision. These include utilitarian, Kantian, egoist and Ross’s contextual ethical theory. Nonetheless, the most applicable in this scenario is utilitarian schools. Utilitarianism school is normative ethics theory that justifies the best moral ground as the one that maximizes utility, which can be defined in some ways but is related to taking into consideration sentiment entities such as species, rivers, ecosystems, happiness among others (Scarre 10). Consequently, in this scenario, utilitarianism can favor human use of polythene and animal testing, highlighted in the previous sections, only if the happiness that results from their exploitations is much greater than the suffering it caused. However, it is very difficult to come up with a line of thinking where this could be the case. Animals that are non-human are painfully and abruptly deprived of their lives soon after being subjected to a lot of suffering. Accordingly, because non-human animals have to go through so much suffering to produce happiness to human beings, using of these animals is not justified as it does not cause more pain than happiness.
In conclusion, from the illustrations in the paper herein, it is clear that there is the difference between environmental ethics for humans and animals based on the arguments by theorists such as Singer and Baxter.

Works Cited
Baxter. “People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution.” Technology and Culture (2009): Print.
MacNamee. “Advocacy for Animals.” Advocacy for Animals Plastic Bags and Animals Comments. 2008. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.
New Internationalists. “Is Animal Testing Necessary to Advance Medical Research?” New Internationalist All Posts RSS. 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.
Scarre, Geoffrey. Utilitarianism. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.
Singer, Peter. “Animal Liberation.” Animal Rights (2011): 7-18. Print.