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Huong Nguyen
Jonathan Smith
EN 1103-17
27 February 2014
Analysis on Tom Regans Animal Rights, Human Wrongs
Throughout the century, there are ongoing conflicts about what should be the right
treatments of animals. Animal activists believe that we, human, must acknowledge and
respect the moral rights of animals just as our own, while the opposing ideas state that
animals are necessary for our welfare, thus it is acceptable to use them as a means to achieve
the prosperity of humans race. Up to this day, there are many academic works that advocate
animal rights, and Tom Regans essay Animal Rights, human wrongs is one of the most
popular. This essay is an effective plead and closure to the cruelty of animals being
mistreated. Tom Regan succeeded in shedding new lights into the animal rights topic with his
though-provoking images, his clear separation of humans common misconception on animal
rights, and lastly his appealing and powerful words.
In the first half of the essay, Regans pathos is the most prevalent. His detailed
descriptions of the four different animals being mistreated (336-38), alongside his powerful
and thought-provoking sentences not only strengthen his position as an animal activist, but
also leave a strong impression on the readers about the horrendous situations in which
animals are currently being treated. Regan depicts these animals as human, with true
emotions, as we can clearly see these animals feelings through his description of their
sufferings, like when a rabbit makes a futile effort to escape from a restraining device, or
through the life of a tethered calf, unable to run around, unable to sit down without
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hunching up, devoid of companionship (338). This alongside with Regans powerful word
choices, such as this leviathan of the deep (336), and literally burned out of its socket
(338), succeed in drawing the readers attention to the horrible reality of animals mistreat.
Regans love for animals is confirmed through his four examples of cruelty towards animals.
Also, with such powerful images, Regan successfully raises the awareness that the animals
deserve for their rights.
Besides his detailed and strong images, Regans reasoning is another important part
that contributes to the effectiveness of his argument. He successfully points out the common
humans misconception on the justification of their actions on harming animals, stating that
to produce such a justification it is not enough to argue that people profit, satisfy their
curiosity, or derive pleasure from allowing animals to be treated in these ways (339). As a
professor emeritus of philosophy, Regan easily distinguishes for the readers the differences
between the two ideas, that an institution actually is justified because it might conceivably
be justified(339) is nothing like the harm caused is actually justified (339). This makes
his argument more persuasive because the harm he mentions in his four examples clearly
fails to clarify its morally justification. Regan also skillfully relates the two rights, animal
and human, in his example: we have very good reason to believe that overriding the
individuals right prevents, and is the only realistic way to prevent, vastly greater harm to
other innocent individuals (339) to state that animal rights should be treated with such logics
and respect as those of human. With sharp and convincing reasoning, Regan establishes
another firm foundation for his effective argument.
Again, Regans pathos contributes greatly to the argument het sets forth, and this
time, it is his appealing voice and emotional words that succeed in encouraging people to
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consider animal rights a pressing and important matter. With many years experience in being
an animal activist, Regan builds a credible and professional image with his knowledgeably
and thoroughly backed up examples. His explanation for the cruel mistreat of animals, such
as for soap and oil. For pet food, margarine, fertilizer. For perfume (337), or for a new
variety of toothpaste, shampoo, mouthwash, talcum, hand lotion, eye cosmetic, face cream,
hair conditioner, perfume, cologne (338), though appear to be somewhat cold and
indifferent, actually helps display a dangerous level of humans ignorance on the suffering of
animals. Also, Regans continuous questions of the reasons why people do such things, For
what? To what end, occurring in every example of animal mistreatment, stress the absurdity
and injustice of such actions. His emotional appeal, we can see, if we will but look, the last
convulsive gasps of the great blue whale, the dazed terror of the gibbons eyes, the frenzied
activity of the rabbits feet, the stark immobility of the bobbie calf (340), again speaks to the
readers, telling them that animals deserve just as many rights as us human.
If Regans rather shocking images at the first half of the essay leads the readers in the
presentation of his argument, then his reasoning and finally his appealing words are the grand
finale that leaves the readers with a lot to think about and a lot to revaluate about their
actions. All in all, Animal Rights, Human Wrongs is an effective essay. It succeeds in
exposing the awful reality of animals fates, and in encouraging people to start respecting and
realizing the rights of all animals.