This was a speech delivered by Tom Reagan in 1989 at the Royal Institute of Great Britain. Tom Reagan gave this speech as a contribution to the answer to the question of whether there is a need for the animal kingdom to have a bill of rights. The speech provided a strong philosophical argument in favor of animal rights.
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Reagan started his speech by arguing that animals were conscious of their existence and that that had some significance to them. He argued that the presence of animals made a significant contribution to the global psychological balance and hence their psychological importance. Arguing from the enlightened ethics perspective, Reagan felt that any argument about animals ought to be logical and rational (“Vegan Ireland: A Case for Animal Rights” 1).
Reagan went further to present four axioms of what the philosophies of animal rights (AR) were. Reagan argued that AR was a philosophy of pro and not anti-science because from Darwin’s words animals were our next of kin and hence the need to embrace them. Reagan also argued that AR was a philosophy that stood for justice. He claimed that it was wrong for a wrong to be committed for the interest of many and associated that with slavery and child labor. He also claimed that AR was a philosophy of peace and advocated for animals to be treated fairly. Reagan lastly argued that the true peacemakers would stand against animal exploitation (“Vegan Ireland: A Case for Animal Rights” 1).
The last half part of the speech was fully dedicated to answering the objections from opponents of AR. The general argument that Reagan made in answering the objections was that though animals were not in a position to accomplish what human beings could they should not be mistreated (“Vegan Ireland: A Case for Animal Rights” 1).
I believe that Reagan presented a powerful speech that succeeded in showing that animals have rights. He argued in a very systematic way using ordinary examples which could be understood by anybody. Reagan argued that animals are aware of their very existence and have some purpose in their life. This may sound ridiculous but how can one explain a lioness fighting fiercely to defend her cubs from predators? (“Information on the Lion, the Animal” 1; Wright 1)
Reagan argued in a very logical way. He acknowledged the fact that animals could not be equal to human beings in many ways but argued that because animals were aware of themselves then in that sense they were equal to human beings. A similar opinion was elsewhere (Carnell 1; Francione 1). Reagan anticipated objections and gave logical and practical answers in his speech. He particularly pointed out the weakness of applying utilitarianism in society as well as in the case of animal rights.
Generally, Reagan made a convincing speech that was based on logical arguments. He truly showed that animals possess some sense of psychological awareness and that they too have some purpose in their life. This implies that animals are aware of the mistreatment that they receive from human beings. He succeeded to show that animals should be treated fairly and therefore they should have the bill of rights which will specifically focus on the way they are treated.
Carnell, Brian. Animal Rights.net, 2008. Web.
Francione, Garry. “The Peace Advocacy Network and the Vegan Pledge Campaign.” Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach, 2010.
“Information on the Lion, the Animal.” Lions, Lion Safaris, Pictures of Lions in the Wild, 2010.
“Vegan Ireland: A Case for Animal Rights.” Vegan Ireland, n. d. Web.
Wright, Jonathan. “Wild Animals: Animals That Kill Their Young, Dominant Animals, Cot Deaths.” Expert Archive Questions, 2005. Web.