The reification of life
Genomics, Society and Policy 2007 August; 3(2): 70-81
What s wrong fundamentally wrong with the way animals are treated ( ) isn t the pain, the suffering, isn t the deprivation. ( ) The fundamental wrong is the system that allows us to view animals as our resources, here for us to be eaten, or surgically manipulated, or exploited for sport or money. Tom Regan made this claim 20 years ago. What he maintains is basically that the fundamental wrong is not the suffering we inflict on animals but the way we look at them. What we do to them, what we believe we are allowed to do to them, is dependent on how we perceive or conceptualize them. We not only treat them as resources but prior to this we already think of them as resources, and when we look at them, all we tend to see is resources. In our perception of them they exist not for themselves but for us . But obviously it can only be fundamentally wrong in a moral sense to view them that way if it is wrong in a factual sense, that is, if animals are in fact not for us . But is it wrong?
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