By Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton units out a compelling account of the way we must always take into consideration the morality of our relations to different animals. He argues that it's fallacious to think that animals immediately have rights, yet indicates we owe them tasks looking on even if we're treating them as pets, for laboratory experiments or for meat. this can be crucial examining within the mild of the hot public challenge over matters reminiscent of veal calf exportation and the BSE difficulty>
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We do not only feel pain, we anticipate it, rehearse it and accompany it with frightening thoughts of its cause. Unlike the lower animals, we know pain as the sign of a deep disorder and while we shun pain as they do, we are also aware of its terrible significance. A fox hit by a car drags its broken leg painfully behind it, but does not know that this broken leg means death. A man with a broken leg knows that he must seek help and, if help is out of the question, that he must die in agony. Secondly, we should not think that all pain is an evil or that it is always wrong to inf lict it.
Some of the principles have been explicitly incorporated into international law – notably the fourth. They provide us with the calculus of rights and duties with which our day-to-day relations with strangers must be conducted, if we are to live by negotiation and not by force or fraud. We should see the above principles as ‘procedural’ rather than ‘substantive’. They do not tell us what our rights and duties are, but only what it means to describe an interest as a right, and a decision as a duty.
Even so, the authority of this reasoning is not absolute: for sympathy may compete with piety. We rationalise our pieties by measuring them against our sympathies and discipline our sympathies by testing against the intuitions which stem from piety. The dialectic of sympathy and piety provides a second major source of moral thinking about animals. While this ordering of the four sources of moral reasoning may be questioned, and while it leaves much unresolved, it corresponds, I believe, to the practice of the ordinary conscience and accords with the underlying function of morality, as I envisage it.
Animal Rights And Wrongs by Roger Scruton