Arguably, the understanding of the human-animal relationship essentially serves as the starting point of understanding of the animal ethics. This, in essence, helps us, humans, to substantially focus on the resulting moral implications of the human/animal relationships, especially in the context of the welfare of farm animals. While the human-animal relationship seeks to revisit the different values which are inherent in the nature of animal husbandry, this relationship is also primarily influenced by the philosophical caring ethics. In a similar regard, there are those caring based ethical systems which essentially acknowledge the moral consequences as well as the resulting burdens that are related to the human-animal relationships (Schicktanz, 2006).
In my opinion, the human-animal relationship is well pronounced especially when dealing with farm animals. For instance, farmers and stock persons tend to form close relationships with their animals, as compared to other groups of individuals. In a similar regard, literature and various scientific studies contend that it is through the interpersonal human-animal relationships, that farmers and other animal caregivers may foster better care and consideration for the farmed animals. This, in essence, promotes the welfare of the animals and also enhances their on-farm productivity. From an ethical perspective, animals, whether farm or wild animals should be accorded their rights. This being said, it is overly important, to acknowledge the existence of the human-animal bonds which especially encourages the animal handlers and farmers to form the bonds with their animals, as recommended bravely.
According to Peter Singer, if humans are considered to have their own rights, then the animals should have their own rights as well. In his contention, Singer advises on giving equal considerations to the suffering of the animals, as that which is given to us human. Personally, I agree with Singers assertion that there is something systematically wrong with the way we, as humans choose to treat the animals (Singer, 2011). The thought that we as humans raise animals and eventually use them for our own selfish benefits and entertainment raises some moral question. Precisely, it is easier to question the ethics behind the human-animal bond based on the manner in which domesticated animals are caged. For instance, farmers and animal handlers confine animals in small cages and deprive them of their freedom to move about freely. According to Singer, depriving the animals of their liberty is morally impermissible since farmers only do this for their own convenience. Besides, I agree with Singers contention that the discrimination of animals is tantamount to the discrimination against different species or race. In a nutshell, from bioethical perspectives, the human life is considered valuable and should never be discriminated against. This should, therefore, be the case, even with the animals and as a recommendation, humans should refrain from drawing the sharp boundary that discrimination creates between us and the animals.
France de Waal, on the other hand, bases his ethical contention on the fact that morality is built on two major cornerstones, reciprocity, and empathy. This being said, studies prove that animals especially, the monkeys, the chimpanzees, and elephants, among others, uphold these two moral aspects (Waal, 2011). This should mean that they, like us humans are empathetic and also value pro-social tendencies. This, in essence, substantiates why it is ethically correct to treat the lives of the animals in an equal manner and value as the human life. Although Waal does not directly address the way in which people abuse the rights of the animals, he evidently recommends that the animals should not be discriminated against since, like us humans, they uphold morality in a majority of the things that they do.
De Waal, F. (2011, November). Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals | TED Talk | TED.com. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals#t-389744
Schicktanz, S. (2006). Ethical Considerations of the HumanAnimal-Relationship Under Conditions of Asymmetry and Ambivalence. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 19(1), 7-16. doi:10.1007/s10806-005-4374-0
Singer, P. (2011). Peter Singer, part 2 - animal rights.wmv. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7-bPJbM2d4
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