Animal Rights/Morals According to Carl Cohen a right is a claim, or potential claim that one party may exercise against another (Cohen, pg. 759).
Mr. Cohen has written a ten page essay regarding and defining in his terms the connection between morals, rights and animal rights which he believes non-existent. Mr.
Cohen is of a belief that while some life on this earth may have rights others do not, peaceful coexistence can exist through compassion and enlightenment. He goes to great lenght’s to explain his theories. Simply put, Carl Cohen believes man is a moral animal and says humans confront choices that are purely moral; lay down moral laws for others and themselves (Cohen, pg. 760).
It is important to understand his perspective in order to understand the argument against animal rights.
Animals lack the capacity for free moral judgement. Because they have no capacity for moral judgement they have no rights, therefore none can be violated. Mr. Cohen makes it clear and I stand firmly in agreement that just because animals have no rights by definition does not give man the right to do as we please to the animals. Woven throughout Mr. Cohen’s essay is an underlying thread revealing him as a man of conviction and morals.
He writes of obligations we have as a part of society and these obligations are not to be confused with rights. Examples given of obligations to society are the doctors to the patients, the adult to the child, the child to the pet (Cohen, pg. 761).
... died as a result of the experiment. Which animal (man or bull) is a greater loss to the ... and purpose of the test, the organism (man or animal) must be observed carefully and monitored for changes ... more about the brain and body, which species (animals or man) seems expendable for such testing. The real ... waste human lives, so they substitute animals in the place of man (without any kind of consent, if ...
Mr. Cohen writes “to treat animals humanely, however, is not to treat them as humans or as holders of rights” (Cohen, pg. 761).
Based on Mr. Cohen’s theory that what gives one species rights but not another is the ability to reason morally. Animal rights activists agree that if rights belong to those only who can morally reason then those among the human community unable to reason must do without rights. Based on these facts, I would have to agree.
Yet, Mr. Cohen explains this argument away by stating that moral judgement distinguishes humans from animals is not a test to be administered to human beings one by one (Cohen, pg. 761).
Cohen says it all when he states “what humans retain when disabled, animals have never had” (Cohen, pg. 762).
Activist challenge Mr. Cohen’s rights theory by arguing the animals do not reason, they do not communicate with one another. They believe independence and love is not unique to the human race therefore there is no moral distinction between human and ani mals (Cohen, pg. 762).
While I agree with the activist point of view the animals do communicate a whole range of emotions, I do not agree that they have moral judgement. Mr. Cohen feels this argument misses the central point because moral acts have internal as well as external dimensions (Cohen, pg. 762).
When it comes to giving preference to one species over another I find my opinion varies. In other words, while I believe there is moral difference, I do not believe in stating that human pain is somehow more important or valid than animal pain.
I do agree that animals are needed for testing but unnecessary suffering is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. “The question is not, can they reason? , nor can they talk? , but, can they suffer?” (Cohen, pg. 763) When it comes to speciesism I agree with Mr. Cohen that in human terms the idea is atrocious. When discussing animal terms I am in disagreement with Mr. Cohen.
... for regarding the pain that animals feel as less important than the same amount of pain or pleasure felt by humans. I agree with Singer ... domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, and in some cases horses under the same moral consideration that we do with other humans. We ... need. Guthrie states that giving another organism the status of moral body and amoral body simultaneously leads us into what is ...
If I understand Mr. Cohen correctly, he correlates moral rights with pain. My opinion is pain is pain whether you be rodent or man. I think of it is possible for science to altar methods of experimentation in place of animal testing then they have an obligation to do so.
I believe the medical field needs to allow human beings to be volunteer to be the guinea pig should they so desire. I don’t believe you could find a better laboratory specimen. Compassion must be the core component in all situations. If choosing to not use animals one must remember the disadvantages, consequences of not using animals in research, and to all the achievements attained and attainable through their use..