The Argument on the Worth of Animals

Concern is growing in American society for the welfare, protection, and rights of animals. Protests have been mounted against killing animals for their fur, hunting animals for sport, and experimenting on animals in the laboratory. A powerful rational argument can be made for respecting animals much more than we currently do.

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The Moral Argument for Sparing Animals
by Thomas J. Donahue
Taken from the book “Compassion For All Creatures”

Every year, tens of millions of animals (including dogs, cats, rabbits, and monkeys) die in often painful laboratory experiments. In many cases, they die not so that we can achieve some major medical breakthrough, but so that we have one more type of lipstick or one more brand of aftershave. Contrary to common belief that all or most animal testing is medical in nature, countless animals are tortured and killed daily, so that we can place yet another nonessential item on our already overstuffed shelves.

We also slaughter billions of feeling, sensitive creatures (which we clinically label “livestock” and “poultry”) to satisfy our insatiable appetite for the flesh of dead animals. Often, these animals have short, miserable lives, characterized principally by confinement, stress, and early death—all so that we can dine as we please.

If such things were done to human beings, words like atrocity and genocide would immediately be heard. If such practices would be morally abominable if perpetrated upon humans, they are morally unacceptable when done to animals, unless there is a morally relevant difference in the value of human animals and the value of nonhuman animals.

Many attempts have been made to argue for such a great moral difference in the hope of getting us off the hook for what we do to and with animals. Some people contend that, because we are humans and animals aren’t, we count morally, while they don’t. But in the absence of an explanation that specifies why belonging to our species gives us a unique moral status, such a claim seems to be nothing more than arbitrary discrimination in favor of “us” and at the expense of “them.” Its parallels with sexism and racism have induced certain thinkers to label such an attitude “speciesism.”

Some have pointed to our greater intelligence as the key factor justifying our lethal exploitation of animals to satisfy often trivial desires. However, if the possession of higher order mentality is required in order to deserve moral respect, severely retarded people could conceivably be fair game for exploitation or experimentation by their moral intelligent fellow humans.

Surely it is absurd to contend that animals have no rights merely because they lack rational intelligence, since, as should be clear to everyone, it would be absurd to conclude that mentally retarded humans have no rights, due to their similar lack of rational intelligence.

It has also been claimed that we are worth more than animals because we have immortal souls and they don’t. This reason is both questionable and irrelevant. First of all, no one knows that such a claim is true. How do you ascertain the presence or the absence of such a soul? Second, even if it were true that we have immortal souls and that other animals don’t, how could this make our mortal lives more valuable than those of animals! After all, our mortal lives would not have to persist in order for us to continue to exist, since we would have immortal souls; whereas, for a being without an immortal soul, its mortal life is of paramount importance, since this is its only period of existence. Not having an immortal soul makes one’s mortal life more valuable, not less valuable.

Last, it has been contended that God gave us dominion over the entire natural creation, including the animals, and thus that we can treat them as we see fit. Of course, this divine permission is quite unverifiable. Moreover, does it make sense to assume that a supremely merciful God would give us the right to treat animals in a profoundly unmerciful way? Would such a God really go along with the torturing and killing of his sentient creatures, just so that we can consume the latest luxury item, like a “new and improved” bleach? I think not.

Thus, the burgeoning animal-rights movement confronts us with a stark and uncomfortable dilemma: either find a genuine justification for our current practices or abandon them as immoral. The fate of millions of feeling, defenseless, and innocent creatures is hanging in the balance.


I can’t believe how well put this is. It’s almost everything I think and feel about how society sees animals and how I just know God doesn’t agree. I think he is crying along with us for the animals.

Again, I want to suggest that you support your local farmers (instead of factory farming where animals are in horrible conditions) and purchase cruelty free products. The link under the image below will take you to a site with a huge list of companies and products that do not test on poor defenseless animals.

I hope this post will get you thinking. Just take a look at your cat or dog or bunny. If you didn’t adopt them, they could’ve been one of the animals being experimented on.


13 thoughts on “The Argument on the Worth of Animals

  1. JoAnna

    Excellent points here. I do not believe there is a legitimate justification for our current practices of cruelty to animals. Regarding the issues of intelligence, here’s a quote from Jeremy Bentham, (a man ahead of his time)“The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?” Obviously animals suffer. When a mother cow is separated from her baby, they cry. Animals try to get away from pain. Elephants stay near their dead and mourn for days. People who work in slaughterhouses and labs become desensitized so they can keep their jobs, but if you look into the eyes of an animal you will see the pain, or the joy. If we don’t support the industries of cruelty, they will shrivel up or change.


  2. Cattie's World

    OMG ! I never knew the figures of animals dying in Lab testing. How painful.
    Yes, here also, we do see, Chickens taken out in vans, cramped in like waste going to the factories to be slaughtered and then dressed and put for us to eat in malls and hotels.
    Its a pity !! But man has to eat also. Man should atleast limit his usage of animals to pure food reasons only and not for medicines and cosmetics.


    1. kurlylj Post author

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, man does have to eat. I don’t feel that eating meat in itself is so horrible, but the way the animals are treated is!! Here is a link to another one of my posts on farming you might be interested in:
      Also, here is link to a video called “Eating Mercifully”:
      If you check them out, let me know what you think! 🙂


  3. theburningheart

    Totally agree, but let me tell you, most religions advocate vegetarianism, men weakness, and wickedness it’s the cause of this terrible crime, if interested read my blog of August 2014 titled:Ethical considerations on the killing of animals.
    Great post thank you! :-).


        1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

          I enjoyed reading the different thoughts on vegetarianism. I would like to say to those who are judging God by the actions of some people, to please keep in mind that they are not God. They are human. Get to know God yourself. I hope you will give HIM a chance.


  4. colinandray

    Sadly, the whole perspective on animals with so many people is incomprehensible. An animal is a disposable object. I have no wish to hi-jack your blog to promote my own, but I wrote a Post sometime ago on “Used Dogs” (link below).

    I also wrote a Post about “Inconsequential Dogs”. Both “Used” and “Inconsequential” were terms used to describe domesticated dogs. If that is how so many people see man’s best friend, then we as a culture should be ashamed of ourselves! Given that perspective on dogs, it is going to take a lot of public actions before the poor farm animals see any improvement in their lives.


    1. Animals Are Feeling Beings Too Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I do not think you or anyone else would be hi-jacking my blog by sharing your posts. I feel, as fellow animal lovers, we all need to stick together and share information. I have one thing in mind-helping animals! If some of your posts or someone else’s will help animals, then please hi-jack my blog! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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