Animal ethics is concerned with the status of animals, whereas
environmental ethics concerns itself with the relationship to the
I will show the existence of animal ethics depends on the existence of
environmental ethics. I will prove this by showing that such philosophers
have practiced animal ethics such as Singer, Regan, and Taylor are limited
because they are individualistic. Which means they are limited to animal
concerns, and nothing else. But with the environmental ethics such
philosophers as Leapold, Wesra and Naess look at the environment ethics
collectively. Which means they look at the big picture which includes the
animals and its environment.
I will first look at the views of Peter Singer, who is a utilitarian.
utilitarian is someone who believes the greatest amount of good for the
number. Singer wants the suffering of animals to be taken into
He states “If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for
to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of
being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted
with the like suffering…”.What this means is that the suffering of
is not justified. He also states how he thinks a major way to stop the
suffering of animals is to stop the experimenting on animals. He
widespread practice of experimenting on other species in order to see if
substances are safe for human beings, or to test some psychological theory
about the effect of severe punishment or learning…”.When he is talking
about the experiments and suffering of animals. He is concerned most with
domestic animals, he is not too concerned with the other animals in the
Views like these make Singer limited.
Singer is limited and individualistic because he is not concerned
the environment in which animals live and since he is a utilitarian,
is not something he is concerned with. Even other philosopher criticizes
utilitarian point of view exhibited by Singer. Regan protests “Utilitarian
no room for the equal moral rights of different individuals because it has
room for their equal inherent value or worth. What has value for the
utilitarian is the satisfaction of an individuals interests, not the
whose interests they are”.If things are not given equal rights, that
includes the environment there will be a tomorrow to look forward to.
Singer has also been known to show a lack of compassion and sympathy.
As stated by Westra “IT is probable that, at a minimum, instrumental values
always been ascribed to those animals which have contributed in some way to
human community down through ages…Still it is possible to raise doubts
sympathy, as many claim to have no such feeling, including such animals
defenders as Singer”.Westra goes on to describe how Singer is not only
unsympathetic to that of animals with intrinsic value but to those people
third world. Singer feels that since the people of the third world are so
away that it is not of his concern. Singer wants the suffering of animals
stop because it is not justified, but what makes the suffering of third
countries justified? Because they are further away? Such individualistic
approaches will not save the habitat in which the animals live and without
the environment will not survive. Singer is not the only one with an
Another philosopher of environmental ethics Tom Regan also displays
individualistic approach. Regan believes in Cantianism. What that means
that the individuals have rights. Regan has modified it a bit to say that
everyone is subject to a life. Regan believes that animal and humans all
intrinsic value, therefor they have a right to life. He calls for three
“1) The total abolition of the use of animals in science. 2) The total
dissolution of commercial animal agriculture. 3) The Total elimination of
commercial and sport hunting”.He believes that animals should not be
as our resources. he also believes that since everyone is subject to a
people should not believe in contractarianism. Contractarianism states
order to gain morality you must be able to sign and understand a contract
they can not sign a contract (i.e. infant) you do not have the right to
But Regan also views things individualisticly.
He, like Singer also looks at the concerns of animals, of “Value”.
Those animals used in science experiments, agriculture, and commercial and
sport hunting. But what about the animals not included in the list, who
going to protect the rights of those animals? Without all animals and
especially the environment. Regan will not just have to worry about the
of animal rights.
The last philosopher concerned with animal ethics in which I am going
look at is Paul Taylor. He is an egalitarian, which means everyone’s
count and count equally with the like interests of everyone’s else’s. He
that humans are no more valuable than any other living thing put should see
themselves as equals. He calls for two changes “1) Every organism,
population, and community of life has a good of its own which moral agents
intentionally further or damage by their actions….2) The second concept
essential to the moral attitude of respect for nature is the idea of
worth”.What this means is to respect everything and everyone even if
means the little creepy crawlies on earth. But if we respect everything
we are respecting nothing.
One of Taylor’s biggest flaws is that he has no hierarchy which
some animals lose out. Westra sums it up best “Further, it is such an
intensely individualistic ethic that it requires me to consider every leaf
might pick from a tree, every earthworm that might be lying across my path.
will also be extremely different to apply to aggregates, such as species,
community, such as ecosystems”.With no hierarchy he is looking at
individualistic which means something is going to lose out.
Another problem with Taylor’s that he can be applied to animal ethics
well as environmental ethics in order to make a stranger argument he should
stick to either one or the other.
One way we can avoid this individualism outlook is to look at things
holistically such as Leapold. He believes that we should see ourselves not
conquerers of the Land but as members of the community. He proposes we can
this by having a land ethic. The Land Ethic states “the land ethic simply
enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants,
animals a collectively; the land”.This is like an animal ethic but
to include the environmental ethics. He also proposes we have a land
which consists of “1) That land that is not merely soil. 2) That the
plants and other animals kept the energy circuit open; others may or may
3) That man made changes are of a different order than evolutionary
and have effects more comprehensive than is intended or foreseen”.The
pyramid states that changes must be made to the whole ecosystm and
it. It looks at things collectively. But lie everything it has its
When we are looking at things holistically we are leaving some things
out. And for whose to say that the land pyramid is correct, and will work?
is Leapold to decide how and what is more important than other things.
Another philosopher who views the world collectively is Westra.
is concerned with the principle of integrity. She states that “
thus includes the wholeness of a living system”.Therefor she wants to
the ecosystem as a whole. She protests that there are four sections of
ecosystem integrity. They are first ecosytem health. The second is the
capacity to withstand stress and regenerate itself afterward. The third is
optimum capacity (for place and time, including biodiversity). The fourth
the ability to continue development and change. With these four features
environment has a good chance of survival.
Another reason why she has a holistic approach is because she says
counsels respect for the basis of life as well as for all entities living
ecosystems, including animals, which would involve the abolition of
agribusiness, factory farming, and all other wasteful, explosive
She believes everything should be looked at as equal. But her views are
Westra sates that there should be an abolition of agribusiness, but
herself admits that she eats ‘free-range’ chicken. It to is an
why does it make it OK for free-range? And if we are looking at things
holistically who is she to say that one type of business is any better than
factory farming or agribusiness. Sure they are taking advantage of
but if she is to look at things holistically any business that runs
involves expletive practices in some manner.
The last philosopher of environmental ethics in which I am going to
at is Arne Naess. He looks at the environment in terms of deep ecology.
this means is that 1) holistic perspective. 2) biospherical egalitarianism
(everyone’s valuable). 3) principles of diversity and symbiosis. 4)
posture, no racism, no sexism. 5) fight against pollution and resource
depletion. 6) complexity not completion, cutting up science. 7) local
autonomy and decentralization. They are a matter of steps or hierarchy and
have to start from the bottom and start fixing till you make it to the top.
should I say if you make it to the top because if you can not fix each
can not continue to the next level until its fixed. But this way of
things can cause problems.
Viewing the world like this could leave us right were we started from
because if we can not fix it we can not move on. Another problem is when
get near the top of the steps you hit a point where you should look at
threw an egalitarian point of view. Which can bring you back to where you
started from because you are supposed to respect everything which intern
up respecting nothing.
In conclusion do to the arguments I have shown, we can conclude the
existence of animal ethics depends on the existence of environmental
have shown this by demonstrating the individualistic ways in which Singer,
and Taylor look at this world will only save the rights of animals , and
world can not survive with just animals. I have also shown that by
demonstrating the holistic views of Leapold, Westra, and Naess will
rights of the environmental as a whole.
The Autumn and the Fall of Leaves
It is not true that the close of a life which ends in a natural
–life which is permitted to put on the display of death and to go out in
–inclines the mind to rest. It is not true of a day ending nor the
the year, nor of the fall of leaves. Whatever permanent, uneasy question
native to men, comes forward most insistent and most loud at such times.
are still places where one can feel and describe the spirit of the falling
At Fall, the sky which is of so delicate and faint a blue as to
something of gentle mockery, and certain more of tenderness, presides at
fall of leaves. There is no air, no breath at all. The leaves are so
that they sidle on their going downward, hesitating in that which is not
them, and touching at last so intangible to the earth with which they are
merge, that the gesture is much gentler than a greeting, and even more
than a discreet touch. They make a little sound, less than the least of
No bird at night in the marshes rustles so slightly, no men, though men are
most refined of living beings, put so passing a stress upon their sacred
whispers or their prayers. The leaves are hardly heard, but they are heard
so much that men also, who are destined at the end to grow glorious and to
look up and hear them falling.
There is an infinite amount of qualities of describing the leaves.
color is not a mere glory: it is intricate. If you take up one leaf, then
can see the sharp edge boundaries which are stained with a deep yellow-gold
are not defined. Nor do shape and definition ever begin to exhaust the
For there are softness and hardness too. Beside boundaries you have hues
tints, shades also, varying thicknesses of stuff, and endless choice of
and that list also is infinite, and the divisions of each item in it are
everywhere the depth and the meaning of so much creation are beyond our
All this happens to be true of but one dead leaf; and yet every dead leaf
differ from its fellow.
It is no wonder, then, that at this peculiar time, this week (or
of the year, the desires which if they do not prove at least demand—
remember— our destiny, come strongest. They are proper to the time of
and all men feel them. The air is at once new and old; the morning (if one
rises early enough to welcome its leisurely advance) contains something in
profound remembrance. The evenings hardly yet suggest (as they soon will)
friends and security, and the fires of home. The thoughts awakened in us
their bands of light fading along the downs are thoughts which go with
loneliness and prepare us for the isolation of the soul. It is on this
that tradition has set, at the entering of autumn, for a watch at the gate
the season and at its close of day and the night of on which the dead