Animal Rights - Schopenhauer

The development in England of the concept of animal rights was strongly supported by the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860). He wrote that Europeans were "awakening more and more to a sense that beasts have rights, in proportion as the strange notion is being gradually overcome and outgrown, that the animal kingdom came into existence solely for the benefit and pleasure of man."[50] He applauded the animal protection movement in England—"To the honor, then, of the English be it said that they are the first people who have, in downright earnest, extended the protecting arm of the law to animals."[50]—and argued against the dominant Kantian idea that animal cruelty is wrong only insofar as it brutalizes humans:

Thus only for practice are we to have sympathy for animals, and they are, so to speak, the pathological phantom for the purpose of practicing sympathy for human beings. In common with the whole of Asia not tainted by Islam (that is, Judaism), I regard such propositions as revolting and abominable ... [T]his philosophical morality ... is only a theological one in disguise ... Thus, because Christian morality leaves animals out of account ... they are at once outlawed in philosophical morals; they are mere "things," mere means to any ends whatsoever. They can therefore be used for vivisection, hunting, coursing, bullfights, and horse racing, and can be whipped to death as they struggle along with heavy carts of stone. Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, chandalas, and mlechchhas, and that fails to recognize the eternal essence that exists in every living thing ...[49]

Schopenhauer's views on animal rights stopped short of advocating vegetarianism, arguing that, so long as an animal's death was quick, men would suffer more by not eating meat than animals would suffer by being eaten. He wrote in The Basis of Morality: "It is asserted that beasts have no rights ... that 'there are no duties to be fulfilled towards animals.' Such a view is one of revolting coarseness, a barbarism of the West, whose source is Judaism." A few passages later, he called the idea that animals exist for human benefit a "Jewish stence."[51]

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