What are some tests for speciesism

Antispeciesism and Peter Singer. A critical examination of the animal rights ideology

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. On the concept of speciesism

3. Peter Singer

4. The moral community at Tugendhat

5. Conclusion


1 Introduction

For a number of years, meat consumption and the handling of animals have been discussed and criticized in ever broader sections of society. Not least in the debate about climate change, the effects of meat consumption are being viewed critically. The renunciation of meat or even animal products is no longer a pure phenomenon of subcultures, but is increasingly reaching the social mainstream. The motives for doing without are undoubtedly extremely diverse: ethical concerns, nature conservation or simply maintaining one's own health - to name a few examples.

The topic of vegetarianism / veganism is also gaining increasing attention in the media: vegan meat alternatives are subjected to various tests on private TV channels.1 to the Tolerance Day a private broadcaster shows a report about the so-called "anti-animal use yard"2 and various newspapers regularly point out the increasing number of prominent personalities who are vegetarian or vegan. In most of the larger supermarkets it is no longer a big problem to buy tofu, seitan and other meat alternatives and vegan cafes and restaurants can also be found in many cities.

If you deal more intensively with the topic, the vegan diet in particular often seems to be directly related to the concept of Antispeciesism3 to be connected and the Australian philosopher Peter Singer can hardly be avoided in a discussion. On the one hand, Singer refers to the term Antispeciesism and on the other hand, gives him renewed impetus in public perception through the fuss about his own person. Both Singer's theses and the concept of the Speciesism seem to me to be extremely momentous and, last but not least, problematic. In the present work, I would therefore like to begin with the terms Speciesism and Antispeciesism approach. Then I will go into more detail on Peter Singer.

In particular, the question of how to deal with disabled and newborn people is extremely controversial and should be examined here. Then I will try to criticize Singer's approach and confront him with the position of Ernst Tugendhat in his essay “Who are all?”. Finally, the results of my considerations should be summarized again.

2. On the concept of speciesism

The term Speciesism was introduced back in the 1970s and is widely used, especially in the animal rights and animal liberation scenes. Speciesism denotes the devaluation or disadvantage of living beings due to their belonging (or not belonging) to a certain species. “Speciesism is the view that belonging to a species represents a morally relevant property, which is a sufficient condition to morally privilege or disadvantage members of this species compared to other beings. "4 Peter Singer refers to the majority of people as Speciesists. In his opinion, it is through eating meat that most people come into direct contact with members of other species for the first time. The consumption of meat is evidence of the submission of all other interests to those of humans.5

Speciesism a distinction is made between a qualified and an unqualified form. For the unqualified Speciesism only belonging to a certain species is morally relevant. The qualified Speciesism however, refers to certain properties on the basis of which a species acquires moral relevance. “Members of the species Homo Sapiens either have a special moral position because they are God's image and were only created for their own sake, or because they are endowed with reason as a species characteristic. "6 Furthermore, the Speciesism differentiated into a radical and a mild form.7 radical Speciesists represent the conviction that only human interests count and are morally worthy of protection. Even relatively mundane human needs would therefore have

Priority over the basic and vital needs of animals (James Rachels speaks of "Priority over the vital interests of non-humans. "8 ). The mild form of the Speciesism takes the position that animals also have interests worthy of moral protection, but in case of doubt these count less than those of humans. In this case, the vital needs of the animal would take precedence over banal human interests. In the case of comparable interests, on the other hand - i.e. avoiding pain, for example - people would always be preferred.9 If Singer is meat consumption as an example more speciesistic Using modes of action would be viewed as a radical, unqualified form of Speciesism describe.

Still interesting about the name Speciesism is the intended analogy to terms like racism or sexism. The racist is convinced that his own interests are above those of other "races", as well as that Species is puts the interests of his own species above those of all others. The concept of human dignity would therefore also be speciesisticbecause it means prioritizing people.10 So, on the one hand, it is a matter of placing the asserted moral special position of man in the center of consideration; At the same time, it is stigmatized as a wrong and wrong concept (analogous to racism, sexism etc.). Speciesism as a term has negative connotations. The possibility that there can actually be arguments based on such a special position of humans is categorically rejected. “If there were reasons that speak for the special position of humans, one should not speak of speciesism. "11 The use of the term also implies the requirement to overcome it.

The comparison to racism and sexism also has some weaknesses. The representatives anti-speciesist Theses attempt the comparison to reveal the supposedly historical fallacy. Using the example of racism and sexism and their overcoming (if one can speak of such a thing at all, given the still widespread racist and sexist resentment), the aim is to show how the relevance of biological differences in the moral context can change. Discrimination based on gender and / or skin color used to be considered a quasi-biological necessity. The opponents of the Speciesism try to prove a logical necessity here: After racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination have already been brought into the focus of society as problems, only that remains Speciesm unquestioned. However, this necessity cannot be logically concluded. Anti-racists and feminists can refer in their arguments to human rights, which postulate the moral equality of all people regardless of individual characteristics. Klaus Peter Rippe notes that the opponents of the Speciesism on the other hand, find themselves in an ambivalent situation: while on the one hand they try to compare racism in order to emphasize their arguments, at the same time they attack the concept of human rights and thus to a certain extent undermine the foundation on which the moral equality of all people rests.12

One of the most important antispeciesist The aim is to remove the boundary between humans and animals. A limit that serves to give all people, without exception, the same right to life and integrity. Rippe claims that these rights could theoretically be justified without human dignity.13 Nevertheless, it seems risky to discard a concept that has grown out of historical experience, such as human dignity, without being able to offer a workable alternative. Peter Singer, for example, accepts the ability to suffer as a decisive criterion and therefore denies some people with disabilities and young children the right to life. I will go into this again later.

But representatives of the do not only compare with the liberation struggles of black slaves and the struggle for the emancipation of women Antispeciesism Her concern: Again and again one comes across comparisons of mast systems or battery cages with the concentration camps of National Socialism. The animal rights organization Peta provided the most prominent example of this equation with its campaign "The Holocaust on your plate" 14 It is forbidden to equate the - undoubtedly sometimes cruel - killing of animals with the systematic extermination of Jews under fascism. At the same time, this example shows the fatal effects of using the concept of

Antispeciesism takes seriously. If one rejects any demarcation between humans and animals

and if every animal were to have the right to life and integrity, then every human being would indeed have to be called a murderer. “Even the most consistent vegan kills hundreds, if not thousands, of animals every day. On his way to the organic market alone, he carelessly crushes them under his sole. "15 Consequently, one would either have to punish all people for their murders - and also the animals that kill other animals for consumption - or one should recognize murder as legitimate. Both options seem neither too attractive nor workable. Indeed, the dilemma arises for most Antispeciesists but not in this form because they “Usually not ants, worms and other debris at all [take care - note C.L.] but about animals with big eyes that can look at you sadly and sweetly. About monkeys, dogs, cats, cattle, lambs, chicks and cuddly fur animals. " 16 The example of Peter Singer shows that too antispeciesist Theorists cannot do without drawing boundaries entirely. In his case, the limit is defined along the ability to suffer. However, this limit cannot easily be explained biologically either. So it is an equally arbitrarily determined criterion. But it is precisely through such criteria that human rights are undermined: No criterion can be found that applies to every single person and consequently individual individuals fall out of the total, who can then be denied certain rights. You have to agree with the animal rights activists that the boundary between humans and animals has no clear biological equivalent, but has been artificially established. Hardly anyone would seriously dispute the relationship between humans and monkeys. For example, it would be just as conceivable to draw a line between the group of great apes and the rest of the animal world. Nevertheless, the clear demarcation between humans and animals is of enormous importance. It should be consciously prevented that individual persons lose their fundamental rights through the attribution of certain characteristics or abilities. The very fact that they are human gives them inalienable human rights.

It is also interesting that the Antispeciesism there is a direct requirement to refrain from consuming animal products. To a certain extent, humans are required to act against their “nature” (from a biological point of view one would have to call them omnivores). But this is exactly where there is a crucial difference between humans and animals: humans can reflect on themselves and consciously decide to change their behavior, for example by not eating meat. “However, it is precisely this ability that distinguishes humans from all other species and on which every culture and civilization is based - and at the same time it is the most obvious argument against antispeciesism. For humans, nature is a construct, it is relative. It is everything to animals. "17

Of course, all of this does not detract from the fact that some animals are kept under the most miserable conditions and are treated extremely cruelly. The determination of certain human characteristics is also not suitable for establishing a legal limit. What is decisive, however, is the fact that significant problems arise if the categorical distinction between humans and animals is broken down. This fact alone suffices to oppose a conceptual construct such as Speciesism to turn. If it is only a question of emphasizing the special moral position of the human being, another term would have to be found.

3. Peter Singer

I have already mentioned Peter Singer several times above. The Australian philosopher is an important and extremely influential proponent of modern animal ethics. Singer is a utilitarian and is considered to be the founder of preferential utilitarianism. The moral evaluation of actions therefore depends on the extent to which they serve to satisfy the interests of all those involved. In the context of my work, the central assumption is that not only human interests, but those of all beings capable of suffering, regardless of their species, must be taken into account.

Analogous to the conception of the Specisism Peter Singer also assumes that the abolition of the boundary between humans and animals, i.e. the legal equation of all species, is a necessary step. The example of racism has shown that the "Expansion of the moral horizon and the expansion or reinterpretation of the fundamental moral principle of equality"18 occasionally


1 see e.g. http://www.sat1.de/tv/fruehstuecksfernsehen/video/test-wie-gut-ist-vegane-wurst-clip // http://www.clipfish.de/video/3741757/rtl -tofu-test-with-hidden-camera / [last checked on May 14, 2013]

2 http://www.prosieben.de/tv/tolerance-day/video/2.17042/273186-vegan-leben-der-grosse-toleranztest-2012- 1.3079589 / [last checked on May 14, 2013]

3 I have decided to highlight the term in the text because I consider it problematic - as I will go about in the course of my work.

4 Rib, Klaus Peter: Ethics in the non-human area, Paderbrorn, 2008, p. 48.

5 See Singer, Peter: All animals are the same, in: Krebs, Angelika: Natural ethics - basic texts of the current animal and eco-ethical discussion, Frankfurt am Main, 1997, p. 21.

6 Rib, Klaus Peter: Ethics in the non-human area, P. 50.

7 See Rachel, James: Created From Animals. The Moral Implications of Darwinism, Oxford, 1991, p. 182.

8 Rachel, James: Created From Animals. The Moral Implications of Darwinism, P. 182. 9 See ibid.

10 See ibid., P. 181.

11 Rib, Klaus Peter: Ethics in the non-human area, P.51.

12 See Rippe, Klaus Peter: Ethics in the non-human area, P. 65

13 See ibid.

14 See, for example, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/die-holocaust-plakate-von-peta-vegetarian-moral-1.893374 [last checked on May 14, 2013]

15 Bozic, Ivo: Stay human - a plea for animal welfare and against political veganism and the ideology of animal rights, in: Jungle World, 37/2008/09.

16 Ibid.

17 Bozic, Ivo: Stay human - a plea for animal welfare and against political veganism and the ideology of animal rights.

18 Singer, Peter: All animals are the same, P. 13.

End of the reading sample from 17 pages