Morality Of Killing Animals

1301 Words6 Pages
The Morality of Killing Animals: An Investigation in Utilitarian Ethics. Research Question The killing of non-human animals remains an unsolved problem in utilitarian ethics and has generated heated debate amongst ethicists in recent times. My aim is to illuminate this issue, specifically the morality of killing animals when it is done painlessly. In doing so I intend to tackle several questions: What, if anything, makes killing wrong? Does the wrongness of killing animals (human and non-human) depend on them possessing specific attributes? If the wrongness of killing depends on the killed holding particular attributes, do non-human animals possess them? (Here I will examine the latest research into animal mindedness.) If some (or all) animals lack the attributes that deems killing immoral, do we have any grounds to oppose their killing? If, as it is commonly claimed, there is a mismatch between utilitarian pronouncements and our intuitions when it comes to killing, does it pose a problem for the utilitarian perspective? Background…show more content…
As a moral theory primarily concerned with well-being, utilitarianism grants moral protection to most non-human animals, given that they have interests related to pleasure and suffering. However, it is not clear how these interests apply to the morality of killing when no suffering is involved. This has led some to suggest that we have grounds to oppose the mistreatment of animals but not their killing (Singer, 2011). However, many find this conclusion puzzling as we normally regard death as worse than mild suffering (McMahan,
Open Document