2011 – National 5th Grade 5th Place Award Winner:

Clara Vonderheide, New York.

Do the Ends Justify the Means ?

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” Jean Jacques Rousseau, a philosopher, thought that everyone is entitled to these rights. He argued that animals should have “natural laws” because they have feelings. However, animals are not always guaranteed these “natural laws” since they are not fully considered equal to humans by some. Animal testing, animals in captivity, and usinganimals for medical experiments show that animals do not have any rights of their own. Humans have been taking advantage and even killing animals for their own advancement for many years. Animal testing clearly shows that the ends do not always justify the means.

Animal testing is not a good strategy to test products. Over one hundred-million animals a year such as rats, dogs, mice, cats, and rabbits suffer or die from being used to test household products like bleach, soap, laundry detergents, air-fresheners and furniture polishes. The Epicureans, a school of philosophy, would agree because they treated everyone fairly, including animals. They were open to everyone and did not approve of social conflict. Therefore, Epicureans would have been against all animals’ abuse. Another philosopher named John Locke was also against this cruelty. He felt that animals have feelings and humans have duties toward non-humans. Unfortunately, human society is taking advantage of their duty toward animals, and another specific example of that is how animals are mistreated in zoos.

Some zoos and petting zoos are businesses with the goal of making as much money as possible. Each year 142 million people visit zoos around the world. The zoos take many animals like whales, dolphins, bears, giraffes, and chimpanzees from their habitats. Some petting zoos and zoos are filthy and animals are sometimes physically punished when the zookeepers lose their patience. These facilities also hurt people by exposing them to diseases like salmonella. Some animals suffer from zoochosis from being caged because they feel lonely and sad. “Man was born free and everywhere he is in chains.” Rousseau thought that people and animals should not be “changed,” they should be free. Clearly the profit zoos earn does not justify the means of caging up animals and removing them from their natural habitat.

“The use of animals in medical research and safety testing is a vital part of the quest to improve human health,” (The Lancet, 2004). Based on this quote, it clearly states that some people are in favor of animal testing and think human advancement is more important than the safety of animals. While many positive advancements have been made like coming closer to a cure for AIDS and cancer, operating on animals in a harmful way is never justified. Immanual Kant would have agreed with that. He said “cruelty to animals is contrary to man’s duty to himself, because it deadens in him the feeling of sympathy for their sufferings, and thus a natural tendency that is very useful to morality in relation to other humans is weakened.”

Humans use animals for their own benefit. Animals are used for testing household products and for scientific experiments. Some zoos and petting zoos contain abused animals and they are taken from their natural habitat. The government and society should be more attentive and stricter about preventing the mistreatment of animals. Hurting and murdering animals just for mostly unnecessary human gain shows that the ends do not always justify the means.


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