Animal Liberation -- Peter Singer Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

4). Singer references the essay in the book by Richard Ryder, who criticizes (with great justification) animal experiments ("now a large industry"). Of course there have been laws passed in the U.S. Congress subsequent to when this book was published, laws that provide guidelines for any animal research, but Ryder provides Singer with some gruesome experiments on animals and Singer reports them in his essay.

How moral is a company or organization or university when it injects chemicals into the brains of cats? At the National Institute for Medical Research in London they did just that, and while it is doubtful they could get away with such cruelty in 2011, they certainly did then. The injection into the brain of a cat with a large does of "Tubocuraine" caused the cat to jump into its cage and start calling "noisily whilst moving about restlessly and jerkily… jerking in rapid clonic movements" like an epileptic convulsion, and dying 35 minutes after the injection (Singer, p. 5).

Springer noted that notwithstanding the fact that these kinds of hideously cruel experiments are taking place "on university campuses throughout the country" there has not been "the slightest protest from the student movement" (p. 5). He is wondering in this essay why students protest against discrimination when it has to do with race or sex, or the military and big corporations, but when it comes to animals, the students tend to see them as "statistics rather than sentient beings with interests that warrant consideration" (p. 5).

Conclusion -- What are Americans' Values and Morals vis-a-vis Animals?

When Springer alludes to the essay by Ruth Harrison ("On Factory Farming") he hits home with the most egregious practice in the West when it comes to food production. When veal calves are kept in narrow stalls, to narrow for the poor calf to turn around, that is immoral, and it paints an immoral portrait of the society, whether it is the UK or the U.S. One of the questions to be answered in this paper has to do with skewed morals, and there is no doubt that when a customer buys an order of Kentucky Fried Chicken he or he doesn't think about the frightfully unsavory conditions that chicken was raised in. Hence, the customer obviously has skewed morals because all he or she is thinking of is hunger, satisfying that hunger, and placing the bones and paper trash in the proper receptacle.

The Kentucky Fried Chicken customer isn't thinking about the fact that the chicken she is eating was raised in an area twenty inches by eighteen inches with four or five other laying hens, an area not big enough to stretch wings. If a video was playing as the customer entered the store, showing chickens jammed into tiny spaces and injected with drugs "to squeeze the maximum" out of the investment, likely the customer would pass on buying the KFC meal. The morals are all twisted by advertising and propaganda in this regard.

As Americans we value family, status, and possessions (among other things), but we are apparently too busy or too disinterested in checking our values against what we eat and how that food is raised. Those who value the rights of animals, and who chose to eat vegetables, and who oppose animal experiments and animal cruelty but don't do anything about it, are giving lip service to morality. But those who speak out, who participate in meaningful protests of the conditions at cruel factory farms, and eschew eating the flesh of animals, can say they have morality at work at least in this context. How can values interfere with daily lives? Well if one's values include not eating meat, then that person needs to locate a vegetarian restaurant or prepare one's own vegetarian meal and not count on finding a venue for that preference. That could mean going out of the way (or interfering with one's daily routine) but it's a very small price to pay for the act of doing the right thing.

Works Cited

Singer, Peter. "Animal Liberation." The New…

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