Sample Essay on Tom Regan’s Case for Animal Rights

Animal rights refer to a privilege as well as powers that animals are entitled to enjoy. Animals play a significant role in our day-to-day activities (Palmar203). Therefore, animals have their rights that are expected to guide people in the way they live with them in their surrounding environment. The challenge is that despite the animals being of great importance they are not treated fairly by human beings making them to suffer. This could be because of the system that allows people to view animals as their resources. In other words, animals are viewed as a source of food and also exploited for sports and money generation. In this essay, Regan argues that animals, just like human beings, have rights that other beings should respect.

Regan (17) advocated for animal rights in the animal rights movement with goals such as totally abolishing the use of animals as a science, dissolving commercial animal agriculture, and also eliminating of sport hunting, trapping and commerce. He noted that many people believe in animal rights but do not integrate the above goals. Tom Regan leads in advocating for the rights of animals. While Singer advocates for utilitarian programs for animal liberation, Regan was against this view. He was against utilitarianism due to absence of intrinsic worthiness and value. From Regan’s point of view, he notes that both humans and animals have equal intrinsic values that their right to life bases. That is why he called for the goals above and he noted that the fundamental wrong was the system that allows us to take animals as our resources.

Furthermore, Regan reasons for granting animals equal moral rights. For instance he noted that if your dog is kicked by your neighbor then he has done something wrong to you and not the dog itself. This is because the dog is your property that has been damaged. To be general it is concluded that all duties we perform regarding animals are indirectly to one another. A number of philosophers are not in agreement with Regan’s observation that animals do not feel any pain (Ebert and Tibor150). They argue that the pain is felt by animals as well and impacts of pain are not only morally relevant to the human beings but even the animals. This is in the form of contractarianism which shows that morality composes of a set of rules that one voluntarily agrees to go by them just as it is done while signing a contract. Regan (19)observed that those who comprehend and agrees with the terms of a contract are covered directly.Regan came out with the theory of contractarianism and noted that animals cannot sign a contract since they cannot understand it and hence they have no rights.

In conclusion, the animals cannot be the bearers of rights since the concept of rights is essentially human and is found in the human moral world. However, just like human beings, animals too are sensitive hence feels pain and suffers. Nevertheless, animals cannot be morally equal to human beings because of sharing these traits. Human are moral beings with conscience to discern between the right and wrong thing. Therefore, the intrinsic value that human beings have makes it impossible for animal to match them as equal. Hence, animal rights should be limited to protecting them but not making them equal to human beings.


Works cited

Ebert, Rainer, and Tibor R. Machan.”Innocent threats and the moral problem of carnivorous animals.” Journal of Applied Philosophy 29.2 (2012): 146-159.Print

Palmer, Clare. “Against the View That We Are Normally Required to Assist Wild Animals.” RELATIONS 3.2. November 2015-Wild Animal Suffering and Intervention in Nature: Part II 2.3 (2015): 203-205.Print

Regan, Tom. “The case for animal rights.” The animal ethics reader 12.7 (2003): 17-24.Print