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Peter Singer presents an interesting perspective in his article The significance of animal suffering. There are many points which he uses to present a multi-dimensional view of the issue and his assertions are specific, insightful and daring. The topic of animal suffering has been gaining growing significance in modern society and ethicists have been expressing concern about the way we treat animals as we seek to maximize profits or improve our general welfare. Singer feels that taking animals to be inferior to human beings is morally wrong; if doing so means treating them in a manner devoid of compassion and dignity.
One thing stood out more prominently and this is Singer’s refutation of the notion that human beings deserve to be treated better because they have a more developed mental capacity and therefore are more rational. Non human animals are not in a position to express their feelings about how we treat them and it becomes difficult to evaluate what is too much discomfort or pain to them. Singer points out that even among humanity, some sections among them being infants and people of unsound minds are not rational and as thus have lower mental capacities. Since this does not lead them to be treated badly, then we cannot use the notion of higher mental capacity to discriminate on animals.
In conclusion, it is time human beings should treat animals with compassion and dignity and stop using faulty premises to justify their inhumane acts. We should learn to interpret religious scriptures and scientific findings in a manner that is ethical and fair to all creation.