Basic Principle of Equality

According to Singer the basic principle of equality must includeanimals as a moral principle. Singer argues that human beings violateanimal rights by inflicting pain on other groups. According to Singer(1985), under the principle of equality, moral equality is givingother things equal consideration. Moral equality is not about‘factual equality’ but an ideal, prescription of how we treatothers with equal consideration (Regan, 1985). Moreover, theprinciple of equality rests on the assumptions of utilitarian whatis morally good is regarded as pleasure while what is morally evil isregarded as pain.

Principle of equality is based on the consequences of actions interms of moral worth. The only way to act morally is by thinkingmorally. To this end, as moral beings we have a direct moral duty tosafeguard the interests of animals through moral reasoning. Based onthe tenets of utilitarianism, humans should extend their moralreasoning to protect the interests of other species. Singer (1989)argued that extending the principle of moral equality to otherspecies was absurd since humans differ to a large extent with animals(Regan, 1985)… In his justifications of animal rights, Singer(1985) observed that humans have moral duties to safeguard animalrights because we benefit from animals.

Singer (1989) observes that ‘pain is pain wherever it occurs’ andthus animals’ right should be safeguarded. Although animals areentitled to ‘contract agreement’ to safeguard their rights,animals lack reason and capacity to understand and thus humans mustexhibit genuine sentiment interests to animals. I agree with Singer’ssentiments that though animals do not have equal moral rights ashumans, they are entitled to genuine consideration interests fromhuman beings. It is under the basis of moral equality considerationthat all humans should be treated equally. Human beings who portraygood morals they should be treated with ‘more’ moralconsideration than those humans engaged in evil morals. However, as abasis of utilitarianism and humanity, all humans (whether good orevil) should be treated with human equality (Singer, 1989). Allhumans should have genuine interest and considerations for others aswell as non-humans.


Regan, T. (1985). The case for animal rights. In P. Singer(Ed.), in defense of animals (pp. 13-26). New York, NY: BasilBlackwell. Retrieved fromhttp://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/regan03.htm

Singer, P. (1989). All animals are equal. In T. Regan &amp P.Singer (Eds.), Animal rights and human obligations (pp. 148-162). NewJersey: Prentice Hall. Retrieved fromhttp://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/phil1200,Spr07/singer.pdf