Unlike the non-human animals, we live in a society that does not believe the laws of nature to be the sole possessor of ultimate truth. Long years of human development have shaped another law that may be violated by some individuals but has a significant influence on our decision-making process. What is more, it handles our relations. The moral law is considered to be a set of ideas distinguishing good and evil. A noteworthy detail is that people have different opinions on what is appropriate and what is not and this is why they use different approaches to solve moral problems. Utilitarianism belongs to the number of the most popular ethical doctrines in philosophy. The main principle of utilitarianism is that the moral value of any behavior or action is defined by its utility or profitableness (Barrow 17). According to that, means that are used to reach some goal cannot be regarded as inappropriate if the ultimate goal is aimed at doing something good. To define if the action is appropriate or vice versa, one should take into consideration its consequences (Landa 150). As for the possible consequences, people who support the concept of utilitarianism claim that actions can bring either pleasure or pain, and the latter are always regarded as ones breaking the moral law of humanity (Mulgan 9). Utilitarianism can not be viewed as a separate theory as it presents the cluster of theories that are interconnected and this is why this concept may sometimes be controversial (Treviqo and Tilly 10). There are many moral problems that our society has to solve and the problem of our attitude to animals belongs to the number of the most urgent ones. Animal welfare is a concept that states the importance of a careful attitude to the wild world (Grandin 9). The concept of animal welfare is connected to utilitarianism as the latter operates the notions of pleasure and pain of any animate beings. Careful attitude to animals is extremely important because the profit that people get exploiting the animals for their purposes is inseparable from the pain that animals experience (Patterson-Kane 97). Utilitarianism puts stress on an ultimate task of action but if we do significant harm to animate beings or even kill them, it cannot be regarded as a good way to fulfill the task because animals feel pain as we do. Violent actions that people do to animals are likely to be profitable only for the people and this is why we have to change the way we treat animals to exclude or minimize their pain.
As for my opinion, I strongly support the idea of animal protection as I believe careless attitude to animals to be inconsistent with the image of a human as a conscious creature. I am deeply convinced that consciousness means thinking about others and the commonwealth. There is no doubt that commonwealth is impossible when somebody has to suffer in the name of somebody else’s pleasure. If we consider ourselves to have the edge over the animals, we should act correspondingly to that claim and be the creatures that deserve trust and are worthy of respect.
To conclude, the issue of animal welfare remains one of the most important problems as its present state is quite flailing. The concept of utilitarianism also supports the unacceptability of consumptive use of animals as it cannot be called appropriate from a moral perspective.
Barrow, Robin. Utilitarianism: A Contemporary Statement, New York, NY: Routledge, 2015. Print.
Grandin, Temple. Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, Boston, MA: CABI, 2015. Print.
Landa, Ramiro Ortega. “Utilitarianism, Ethics and Public Policy.” Revista Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Económico 2.2 (2015): 149-152. Print.
Mulgan, Tim. Understanding Utilitarianism, New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Patterson-Kane, Emily. “Trying to Make Regulation Something More Than Just a Burden: A Review of Excellence Beyond Compliance: Enhancing Animal Welfare Through the Constructive Use of the Animal Welfare Act by James F. Gesualdi.” Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 19.1 (2016): 97-98. Print.
Treviqo, Javier, and C. Tilly. George C. Homans: History, Theory, and Method, New York, NY: Routledge, 2016. Print.