In “Equality for Animals?”, Peter Singer argues that “speciesism” is an unjustified prejudice. What is “speciesism”? Why does Singer think that speciesism is an unjustified prejudice akin to racism or sexism? Do you agree with Singer? Why/why not?

It should be double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Explain a view and then either explain why you disagree with the view, or why you agree with the view (writer’s choice whether you agree or disagree)
• If you agree with the view, then you can explain why the argument succeeds by considering one or two objections to the argument and defending the view against those objections.
• If you disagree with the view, raise an objection to it. For example, does it make a mistake in reasoning at some point? Does it rely on a false analogy? Does it make a false assumption? Does it lead to absurd implications? (You do not need to raise all of these objections in your paper. They are meant as suggestions to help you think through the assignment)

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Equality for Animals: Challenging Speciesism


In his thought-provoking essay, “Equality for Animals?”, Peter Singer presents the concept of “speciesism” and argues that it is an unjustified prejudice. He contends that treating animals as inferior beings solely based on their species is comparable to other forms of discrimination, such as racism or sexism. This essay aims to explore the concept of speciesism, analyze Singer’s arguments, and present a perspective on whether speciesism is indeed an unjustified prejudice.

Understanding Speciesism

Speciesism can be defined as a belief that places humans above all other animals solely based on their species membership. It is the act of assigning different moral values and rights to different species without sufficient justification. Essentially, speciesism involves privileging human interests over the interests of non-human animals, leading to the exploitation and mistreatment of the latter.

Singer’s Argument

Singer argues that speciesism is an unjustified prejudice because it lacks a morally relevant difference between humans and animals. He asserts that characteristics such as intelligence, self-awareness, or the ability to reason are not valid grounds for differentiating moral consideration. Singer claims that these traits are present to varying degrees among humans and even absent in certain individuals (e.g., infants or mentally disabled individuals), yet we do not deny them basic rights and moral consideration.

Furthermore, Singer argues that the capacity to suffer is what truly matters in determining moral worth. Since animals have the ability to experience pain and suffering, they should be granted moral consideration similar to humans. He draws parallels between speciesism and historical prejudices like racism and sexism, emphasizing how these prejudices were based on arbitrary characteristics such as skin color or gender.

Agreement with Singer

I find myself in agreement with Singer’s argument against speciesism. His comparison of speciesism to other forms of discrimination helps highlight the flaws in our treatment of animals. Just as it is unjustifiable to discriminate against individuals based on race or gender, it is equally unreasonable to discriminate against animals based solely on their species.

One potential objection to Singer’s argument is the claim that humans possess unique cognitive abilities and moral agency, which justifies their superior treatment. However, Singer effectively counters this objection by pointing out that not all humans possess these characteristics equally. If we grant moral consideration to humans who lack these traits, such as infants or mentally disabled individuals, then we should also extend this consideration to animals who possess the capacity to suffer.

Moreover, Singer’s focus on the capacity to suffer as the basis for moral consideration is compelling. Pain and suffering are universal experiences shared by humans and animals alike. By disregarding the suffering of animals, we perpetuate an unjust hierarchy that prioritizes human interests over their well-being.


Peter Singer’s argument against speciesism challenges us to re-evaluate our treatment of non-human animals. By highlighting the arbitrary nature of species-based discrimination and emphasizing the importance of suffering as a morally relevant characteristic, Singer provides a compelling case for extending moral consideration to animals. I agree with Singer’s view that speciesism is an unjustified prejudice akin to racism or sexism and believe that recognizing and addressing this bias is crucial for promoting equality and justice in our treatment of all beings.



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