Do human beings have any obligations to other animals, in terms of their treatment?
Some think it is wrong to treat animals cruelly or to eat them. Humans should be able to find a balance between treating animals ethically while also raising them for food, and for other reasons such as the testing of pharmaceuticals.
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This is quite clearly a massive issue, and there are many viewpoints to this question. The central question is are we able to knowingly mistreat animals for our own benefit, particularly when we need to try out new chemicals or treatments which might be harmful to humans.
On the one hand, it is possible to argue that as we are the most developed life form on this planet, that gives us an imperative to use animals as we like, especially when, for example, testing chemicals on animals might help to prevent the suffering of humans. We cannot equal the life of a rabbit, as cute as they are, with the life of a human, the argument goes.
However, others argue that we are not masters of nature, and that by exploiting nature and using it for our own selfish ends we are actually not respecting the cycle of life of which we are a part.
Perhaps we need to strike a happy medium between these two extremes. Certainly we are able to use animals for our own purposes, but we should do so with dignity and respect as far as is possible. This will clearly have obligations as to the kind of testing that we carry out on animals and how we slaughter animals for human consumption.
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