One of the topics we discussed in class was “Animal Welfare Treatment”. My position on the topic is that animals should be justly treated, but I disagreed with the argument that animals should be treated like humans. Animals cannot be treated the same way as humans because humans possess special capabilities that animals do not have. Moreover, humans have the tendency to discriminate even among themselves. For example, intellectual capacity is one of the variable traits in humans, and people with a higher intellect are given special treatment. Hence, humans can never treat each other equally because they see each other as equal human beings. In the same manner, human beings treat animals unfairly because they consider themselves superior to them.
I oppose the idea of treating animals like human beings but I support fair treatment of animals. One of the reasons I oppose the idea is that in the Bible God gives man authority over all other creations on earth. This means that humans are above animals and they cannot accord them equal treatment. In addition, if animals were to be treated like human beings this would imply that they could change roles. For example, animals lack the capacity to control the earth as humans do, and therefore it cannot be left in their hands. One of the proponents of the idea of treating animals as humans is Peter Singer. He justifies his position by arguing that animals have feelings just as humans and they get hurt. To some extent, I agree with Singer, and support the just treatment of animals because they are important in different ways.
For instance, unfair treatment of animals have involved acts like poaching, using animals in experiments, and animal trafficking. Animals need to be protected from such acts by enforcing laws that stipulate strict penalties for people caught mistreating animals. The mistreatment of animals is unethical because it subjects them to torture and threatens their existence. For example, acts like poaching have led to the drastic reduction of certain species of animals, and the species are considered endangered. To worsen the situation, people have continued to trade on the endangered species and their products. Hence, continued mistreatment of animals threatens biodiversity.
World poverty is another topic we discussed in class. My position on this topic was that ending poverty would require equal treatment of all humans. Equal treatment of everyone will ensure that people coexist in harmony. Current estimates indicate that 1.2 billion people worldwide live in extreme poverty. International organizations like the United Nation have set ambitious goals such as ending extreme poverty by 2030. Poverty is responsible for social evils such as crime, conflict and diseases. Hence, ending poverty is one of the surest ways of ensuring that societies are healthy and prosperous.
Efforts to end poverty should target the inequalities that exist in societies. One of the inequalities that has contributed to poverty in many societies is unequal income. Governments could address this inequality by subsidizing the income of the poor through direct cash transfers. This will lift people out of poverty by ensuring that every household spends more than $1.25, which is considered the poverty line. Despite the widespread poverty, most governments around the world have not committed to ending it. Citizens of developing countries are overrepresented in cases of extreme poverty, and this means that governments in these countries need support in ending poverty.
Developing countries can be assisted in ending poverty through financial support, especially for countries in sub-Sahara Africa. Governments in this region lack the capacity to collect tax revenue and gather resources. Aid should be given to create an environment that would encourage investments and other activities meant to end poverty. Ending poverty therefore means addressing domestic and international inequalities and ensuring sustainable development. Treating everyone equally is one of way of ensuring sustainability because it makes people develop positive attitude towards the environment.
Cruel treatment of animals and extreme poverty are some of the issues societies across the globe face. Cruel treatment of animals have included acts such as using animals in harmful experiments, poaching and trading in endangered species. The cruel treatment of animals has led to the extinction of certain species and endangered many others. I support the just treatment of animals and ending cruel acts against them. However, some animal rights advocates have argued that animals should be granted full rights as human. I disagree with this position because humans are different from animals because they have unique abilities. Therefore, humans occupies a higher position in the animal kingdom and have authority over other animals as commanded by God.
People should not use the authority they have over animals to abuse them. Instead, they should use their authority to protect and care for the animals. Protecting animals is one way of conserving biodiversity that makes our planet rich. Nevertheless, widespread poverty has remained one of the challenges in the modern world. Statistics indicate that many people still live in extreme poverty, especially in developing parts of the world. Poverty is responsible for social ills such as crime, disease and poor living conditions in developing countries. Ensuring equality is one of the most effective way of ending poverty. Governments in developing countries should commit resources towards ending extreme poverty. At the international level, developing countries should be given financial aid to assist in ending extreme poverty.
In making a decision whether something is moral or immoral I ask whether the act causes harm to others. I consider acts that harm others as immoral while those that do not, moral. For instance, mistreating animals is immoral because it harms the environment, which is turn harm humans. My religion also shape my ethical decision-making. For instance, I argued that animals should not be given the same treatment as humans because the Bible gives people authority over animals. In making decisions I pay more attention to the consequences of my actions. This means that I am more of a utilitarian. In this approach to ethical decision making, an act is considered morally upright if it brings maximum benefit to the majority.
For example, the effort to fight extreme poverty is a morally upright endeavor because it brings maximum benefit to the majority, that is, lifting people out of poverty. On the contrary, mistreating animals is an immoral act because it destroys biodiversity affecting the entire world. Group discussion and the contents of this course have helped me in refining my moral philosophy. Now I have several ethical principles that I can use in making moral decisions, and I understand the views of each theory.