Moral Difference Between Human Beings And Animals

The ways in which we treat humans are extremely different to the ways in which we treat animals. For example, we eat other animals, we wear certain animal fur and skin, we put animals down when we feel it is necessary, we test and experiment on animals for scientific use, and the list goes on. However, it could be argued that these are not deliberate moral differences, but a result of what is considered socially acceptable in Western contemporary society. The thought of eating human flesh is regarded as ‘disgusting’, as is the thought of feeling sexually attracted to an animal. However, this may not be a moral concern, defined by reason, but a reflection of social norms and values. Certain behaviour is socially accepted with in society because it is known as the norm, and the thought of eating other human clashes with this norm, and therefore is rejected, but not necessarily because it is morally wrong. For example, other cultures with contrasting norms and values, such as certain native tribes, choose to include cannibalism within their lifestyle and do not view it to be ‘morally wrong’ because it is socially accepted.

To treat a human being in the same way as one would an animal, would not be socially accepted. For example, in 1996 an article was published in the Evening Standard telling the story of a “two-year-old boy who can only bark and whimper after being kept in a kennel with his parents’ dog for most of his life”. This is undoubtedly viewed to be ‘morally wrong’, however a large percentage of the country treats their pets in this way without giving it a second thought. This point alone suggests a very important moral difference between the way we treat human beings compared to the way we treat other animals, emphasizing the different moral standards we place on both.

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