How We Should Treat Animals: Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum delves into the very controversial topic of animal mistreatment in the science field simply for the sake of human development. She provides for us an explanation and an answer to how we should treat animals. Though we have have developed greatly in the field of technology and medicine animal suffering is still apparent. The simple answer to this unnecessary suffering is to provide respect to any complex organism. This respect creates a conflict between animal rights and human flourishing.  At a basic level Nussbaum states that we should provide for animals basic needs such as space, company and food. We should provide for animals the conditions necessary for a life that is flourishing for that particular animal.  Instead of trying to project human characteristics unto animals what we must do is simply observe the animals. Taking the examples of zoos and zoo biology, again we must provide for the animal the basic needs and characteristics that will prevent unnecessary suffering and allow that animal to flourish. Yet, we must not come to the conclusion that all pain is unacceptable because certain degrees of pain/discomfort is acceptable, such as the pain experienced by alpha males in packs when competing for dominance or the hunt of prey by a predator, but of course the degree should be acceptable to the specific animal as long as it is allowed to flourish as a whole and it is advantageous. Ultimately Nussbaum makes a very important point on animal testing. As a society we have come so far in the field of technology that we should be able to move past animal testing and instead focus on better alternatives such as the rapid progress and promise shown in computer simulation.

The argument that Nussbaum presents should be something that anyone in the science field should consider. She is so passionate about her discussion that one can not help but feel engaged and moved by her words. The topic of animal testing and the unnecessary suffering of animals have seemed to go hand in hand and something that that is definitely relevant, especially in an AP Biology class. I feel that the respect that we owe to all complex organisms is definitely something that is often overlooked, yet just as we as humans have the drive to flourish animals should also be given the opportunity to flourish as well. Computer simulation should definitely be something that we as a society should invest in instead of animal abuse and use.

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