Pete Singer is essentially a utilitarian philosopher who argues that we have a moral obligation to reduce pain and increase happiness. This fundamental principle led him to oppose , in the strongest way, the idea that animals are to be raised in order to be slaughtered for human consumption. It is also important to make it very clear that , to the est of my knowledge, his argument for animal liberation does not rest on any intrinsic rights of the animals but instead is based on the fact that we do not have the right to make any living creature suffer if it is within our power to avoid that suffering. As a result Mr. Singer would sanction slaughtering animals if that can be accomplished without causing pain to the animal.
All of the above rushed through my mind during the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about horses and why they run but it seems to me that horses are trained to run and endure pain for the sake of our entertainment? My very simple question then is the following: Do we have the right to subject any animal to pain and possibly death as long as we enjoy the spectacle? Maybe it is time to reevaluate the cruel use of animals in any capacity that is designed to entertain humans by forcing the animals to endure pain. Maybe it is time to declare horse racing an illegal activity just like cock fighting. Should animals perform for our pleasure? It is time to enlarge the circle of animal liberation as to encompass all human activities that impact animal welfare whether that be laboratories, slaughter houses, circus cages or horse races just to name a few.