Animal Life Matters
Animal Life Matters
Why this petition matters
The philosopher Mary Midgley authored Animals and Why They Matter a while back (Midgley 1983). The book eloquently speaks for itself, but after much philosophical, theological, and ethical investigation of human relationships with and usage of animals in research laboratories and elsewhere, the fundamental question of why animals matter still persists. The issue is still very significant since it directly affects human nature and the goodness of our lives. Our attitudes toward animals and other animate beings reveal a lot about who we are as people and about our fundamentally moral and human perspective on the world.
Animals used for study in laboratories have long raised ethical questions. Animal care and use committees and researchers who appreciate the significance of recommendations for laboratory animal care have long recognized the basic moral issues of pain, suffering, distress, death, and respect. However, our fundamental beliefs and moral positions toward animals continue to be a significant and ongoing problem since they influence our conduct and concern for animals, as well as how we adhere to rules and what standards are applied. I believe it is appropriate to reopen the discussion of how and why animals matter, and to question once more: Is it feasible to come to terms with a general framework of thought or worldview to assist us all get on the same page and inform our moral decision-making with regard to animal use?
Animals are important to us in specific contexts of human interests, goals, and concerns; in conceptual and practical frameworks; and in circumstances requiring moral judgment and response. These situations are as varied as the opportunities for reflection and action that concern both humans and animals. In this article, I examine our interactions with animals in a variety of contexts (laboratories, homes, and the wild), and I then consider whether these interactions can provide philosophical insights into why animals matter to us in fundamentally significant ways that may not always be apparent to us in laboratory settings. Finally, I consider what a strong philosophy of organism or organic life has to say about the question of whether or not animals "matter" to humans.