Chapter 13 Essay Questions
1. What do you think is the strongest argument for the conclusion that it is morally acceptable to kill and eat animals? Do you think this argument succeeds? Why or why not?
2. Do you think humans are more morally important than non-human animals? Why or why not? Explain and discuss the implications of your answer for the ethics of meat-eating and lab experimentation.
3. Explain and discuss Singer’s claim that speciesism is morally wrong in the same ways as racism and sexism. Do you agree with this claim? Why or why not?
4. Singer argues that there is no characteristic that could justify taking the interests of all humans to override the interests of other animals. Do you agree with this claim? What do you think is the best candidate for such a characteristic, and why is it adequate or inadequate? Defend your answers.
5. Explain and discuss the abolitionist position Regan supports. What changes does this position argue should be made in our society? Do you agree with Regan that these changes should be made? Why or why not?
6. Warren argues that animal rights are weaker than the rights of persons. Who are persons? Are human infants and young children persons? Do they have weaker moral rights than those of adults? Defend your answers and explain their implications for the animal rights debate.
7. Compare and contrast Regan’s strong animal rights view with Warren’s weak animal rights view. Which view do you find more plausible, and why? Do you think either view is the correct view of animal rights?
8. What is the “Argument from Marginal Cases”? How have defenders of meat-eating responded to this argument? Do you find their responses compelling? Explain and defend your answers.
9. Some people claim that animals lack moral status because they are not rational in the way that humans are. How does Norcross respond to this claim? Do you agree with his response? Why or why not?
10. Explain Frey’s unequal value thesis. What implications does it have for how we should treat nonhuman animals? What implications does it have for how we should treat other humans? Do you think any of these implications are problematic? Why or why not?