A human and a dog are lying in pain outside a burning building. Who should the ambulance officers see to first?
This book review – of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation – presents arguments for and against viewing animals (humans included) as equal. The title of the piece is taken from the first chapter of Singer’s book; it is worth noting, however, that Singer does not argue that all animals should be treated equally in all ways.
One argument that the author of this review presents against the claim that animals should be given equal moral consideration is that a variety of factors influence an animal’s experience of pain. ‘If you put an atom of pain inside a whole that’s more creative, self-expressive, thoughtful, moral, etc., I suspect all that other stuff makes it matter more,’ she says.
Teachers could give older students the review to read and discuss. The review might be a little bit difficult for younger students, but the ideas and arguments could be utilized in lessons.