Schmidtz's Article versus Singer's On All Animals Are Equal
In his article ‘All Animals are Equal’, Peter Singer begins by showing a number of groups in the society who were discriminated. However, due to their struggle for equality the prejudice is no more. The discriminations were based on skin color and sex. Today, people understood that every human being is equal. He nevertheless says this is not the same case as fighting for animal rights as some people would argue. His point is that human beings have the capability of making decisions rationally which animals cannot. For that reason, he took his stand that not all animals are equal (Singer 163).
Singer stated clearly than both human beings and animals should not be viewed and treated in the same manner because they are not the same (Armstrong and Richard 1). He said that there couldn’t be a line that puts all animals at the same level. Singer goes ahead and says that animals were created to fulfill the desires of the humans. First, as food. Different animals for example cows, goats and sheep are slaughtered for meat. Second, for security as animals like dogs and cats create a sense of safeties when reared around homes. Animals also provide a means of transport for humans for example horses and dogs in the arctic regions. Here we see that animals are servants to mankind and a servant cannot be equal to his master. Therefore all living species cannot be treated in the same manner as human beings.
Singer brought forward several arguments to prove that there is no equality between human beings and animals in the society. Another strong point he put forward was the use of animals for experimenting on research. It is true that both animal and human feel pain and respond to it but the use of animals for experimental research purposes clearly means that there is no equality between human beings and animals. Some drugs harm and even kill animals they are tested on. It is against human rights to test unknown drugs on human beings.
Singer then came to a conclusion that even if there is equality in human beings in terms of morals and political grounds, the fact that there is no equality between human beings and animals states that there is no equality between human beings themselves. Human beings will differ in one way or another e.g. in terms of intelligence and physical orientation. This will give others advantage over others and so equality cannot prevail (Steinbock 2).
David Schmidtz’s idea on the equality of all animals is quite different from that of Peter Singer’s. Schmidtz argues that all species do not have egalitarianism- the view that all animal species have the same moral standings (Schmidtz 59). This therefore means that all animal species cannot receive the same respect. The insight that all humans should have respect for nature is one of the propelling factors for species egalitarianism.
Anthropocentrism postulates that human beings have either a major or entire control over other species. The opposite of anthropocentrism is biocentrism. It is on biocentrism that the entire idea of egalitarianism is built upon. There are for major pillars of biocentrism that support egalitarianism (Johnson 3). These are;
i. The idea that all human beings belong to the community of earth just like all other living thing.
ii. The idea that both human beings and all other living species are important components in a system that is independent.
iii. The idea that all living creatures contribute to life in the sense that each of them is unique aiming its own survival in its own way.
iv. The belief that human beings are not naturally in control or rule all the other living creatures.
All these arguments were put forward to prove that all animals are equal and should be treated in the same equal manner.
Some philosophers concurred with this theory however not totally. They include Paul Taylor, Arne Naess and Anderson (Schmidtz 149). They said that Egalitarianism is a viable phenomenon only that different living species will command respect of different levels. For example in a forest, one goes with an axe. He can chop down a living tree because it is helpless and cannot command much respect. He cannot however go and attack a lion because it can attack back and therefore has commanded more respect than a tree.
Ways in which the two authors would disagree
The two authors would disagree on the major issue of animal equality. Peter Singer is clear that all animals can be equal (Singer 148). He stated firmly that human beings are not superior to other creatures. David Schmidtz and his school of thought on the other hand believe that all living creatures are not equal even though there is the fact that they all belong to the same earth, they are all dependent in some way, and they all play a role in life (Schmidtz 63).