Category: Philosophy Essay

Human Use of Animals Analysis

Philosophy is the science of studying fundamental problems that resonate with reality, knowledge, existence, and reasons concerning a particular thought or belief. It has been the primary basis through which human beings struggle to understand the relationship between human beings and their surroundings. Several philosophers have come up with a lot of explanations to help clarify this phenomenon with most coming close to the history of human and animal coexistence.

The history of philosophers questioning the human use of animals thus dates back to the times when people began domestication of animals. A person saw the need of having animals domesticated for the benefit gained from such animals. The moral status accorded to these animals became of concern to philosophers the moment it was discovered that certain animals were kept under unpleasant conditions despite providing services and food value to people. This prompted several reactions and questions that caused a lot of debate on how people use animals. This paper seeks to analyze the history of philosophers questioning the human use of animals. In doing this, the paper will critically look at various questions posed by philosophers such as Cohen, Regan, and Singer and then synthesize such questions to get the history of human use of animals. Finally, this paper will judge the human use of animals to give a conclusion on the way people use animals.

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Philosophers’ first point of questioning the human use of animals begins when a person keeps on giving animals different cognitions in the social arena. At some point, human beings accord animals a high moral status and give them the best moral treatment they deserve. In some instances, human beings do not grant animals any moral status in society. This usually results in public outrage making philosophers believe that animals deserve better treatment than what they are getting from human beings. The history of man and dog marks the beginning of philosophers questioning the use of animals. In as much as dogs are of great importance to people, philosophers believe that according to better treatment and cognition will lead to even better services rendered. However, human beings seem to provide puppy mills for dogs and use animals without any form of appreciation. This is the basis of the question raised by philosophers as to whether dogs and other types of animals deserve better treatment and consideration as compared to what they receive from their masters.


The history of human use of animals can be categorized into three categories that will help explain moral treatment and beliefs concerning animals. These historical theories by philosophers entail those histories that explain theories that are direct but not equal, those accounts that illustrate moral equality and those histories that explain indirect methods. Whatever the case is, the history of philosophers questioning the human use of animals revolves around these three aspects of the human-animal relationship. In case the relationship between human and animals does not meet moral standards, then it is referred to as poor use of animals and raises the questioning among philosophers.

To begin with, philosophers have questioned the reason for human beings denying animals the right to equal consideration of human beings and being accorded the moral status they deserve. Moreover, philosophers have on several occasions questioned why conscious, autonomy, or reason could lead to human beings using animals in the wrong way. It may not result in harming the animal physically but will create a lot of questions about the morality of human beings, especially when animals are subjected to vulnerable conditions and treatment. Philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Thomas Aquinas, and Rene Descartes are among the first philosophers to raise questions on the human use of animals. To them, they felt that animals had equal rights just as human beings and thus were not justified to be subjected to the kind of treatment they were subjected to by human beings. Their primary concerns as philosophers were the idea being fronted by human beings that animals were of lesser value and thus could be mistreated and only used for gainful purposes of people.

The central question raised by a philosopher in this form of treatment and use of animals is other kinds of implications that such treatment will bring to the animals. Philosophers have for a long time questioned how relevant human actions are when animal interest is not taken into account when acting inhumanely. Besides, consideration of how human actions will adversely affect animals is a matter under question. Immorality does not warrant the process of whatever people want to the animals. Thus, philosophers question the credibility of restrictions followed when delivering proper treatment and use of animals.

There exist some relationship between the ownership of animals and the kind of treatment and use accorded to them by third parties. Philosophers have questioned treatment that one would accord to an animal that is owned by another human being who happens to be a neighbor. In such instances, philosophers question the kind of harm that the owner of an animal would be subjected to should the animal be harmed or mistreated by a third party. In order to avoid such a scenario, philosophers suggest that certain moral duties must be observed with regard to moral treatment and use of animals. This would create harmony and conducive relationship with the animal being found within the neighborhood of human beings. Thus, philosophers have for a long time questioned the rationale of duties in relation to animal’s behavior and treatment by humans.

The three philosophers, including Peter Carruthers and Immanuel Kant, have raised questions about the existence of indirect obligations to animals. This has raised a lot of criticism concerning the proper use and treatment of animals by human beings. According to them, the argument that human beings have a duty not to harm animals and their owners, as well as consider such animals as properties owned by other is a matter subject to question. Thus, Kant asserts that refraining from being cruel and harming animals in the process of using them is not a choice, but an obligation.

Philosophers have gone to the extent of questioning the relation between actions towards animals and humans. The nature of human and animals are analogs to the extent that any action towards animals is a manifestation of the humankind. Thus, the kind of treatment and moral status human beings give to animals can be used as a measure of their humanity and kindness. Similarly, Carruthers notes that subjecting animals to torture just for fun is unacceptable and should be considered as an immoral act. Carruthers goes ahead and questions the human use of animals when human beings betray and display indifference and suffering to animals. Their primary concern is what human beings actions will result in other agents that will be manifested in cruelty towards animals. Thus, the question that determines the morality of the human use of animals is independent of the effect caused by the lover of the animal irrespective of whether the action does or does not infringe human rights.

Furthermore, Carruthers asserts that human beings need to consider their actions towards animals and measure the effect caused by animals in the process of using them in a cruel way. In addition, effects caused by human beings who have some emotional attachment to animals must be put into question whenever animals are subjected to any form of treatment in the process of using them. In addition, cruelty shown to animals should be viewed as a reciprocal of cruelty to human beings and should be discouraged by all means. The only proper way of using animals is by displaying respect and being grateful to them.

Kant poses the question of considering vegetarianism as the root cause of the mistreatment of animals. According to him, consideration has no relationship with the welfare of animals, especially when it comes to animal diet. This is so because a human being relies greatly on animals for a high percentage of proteins. Thus, it is proper to treat animals on suitable vegetation so as to get enough protein from them in the long run. Thus, by alleviating the suffering of animals and their subjection to vulnerable conditions, human beings alleviate their welfare through a guaranteed protein supply. However, philosophers have questioned the possibility of considering feeding the suffering population in vulnerable countries with vegetables used to feed animals in places with good productivity. Of course, not all philosophers will agree with this argument. However, a relevant issue is the effect of the kind of mistreatment animals will be subjected to should they be denied access to proteins.

Other philosophers have a different belief concerning the human use of animals. This creates a different perspective of philosophers’ care about the relationship between human beings and animals. According to this group of philosophers, animals are supposed to get only a few moral considerations and should be denied access to some moral cognitions that are preserved only for human beings. In this regard, philosophers question unequal theories that are direct and thus delineate animals from certain social and moral recognition. Moreover, philosophers question the ability of animals to display respect to the rights of other creatures or even show reciprocity of moral behavior to the whole community. In addition, philosophers question animal’s consciousness as the primary reason for their inability to cause harm. Similarly, philosophers have examined the level of human autonomy, self-consciousnes