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Kant on moral duties to animals

             What moral duties do we have to animals? Kant's response is ". so far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. . Our duties towards animals are merely indirect duties towards humanity." (notes) Kant view is that animals instruments for us to use. Therefore we have no direct moral duties to animals. Our duties towards animals are "merely indirect duties towards humanity." (notes) This means we have an indirect duty to treat animals in such a way that it is morally good for humanity. Some people may think that Kant is advocating animal cruelty or minimizing its impact. Kant, however is not condoning violence towards animals, he condemns the action. .
             Kant says "If a man shoots his dog because the animal is no longer capable of service, he does not fail in his duty to the dog but his act is inhuman and damages in himself that humanity which it is his duty to show towards mankind. . We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." (RT 190).
             Kant's view proves that the act of killing the dog is not morally wrong, in and of it self. Killing the dog is wrong because of the impact it has on the way we treat other humans. Kant views our treatment of animals as reflection of the way we treat other humans. Thus, our duty is not a direct duty to the animal but and indirect duty because it is the consequences on society, not the animal, that make it morally wrong. .
             How does Kant come to the conclusion that animals are .
             non-moral creatures? Kant's criterion for moral status is based on rationality. Both humans and animals posses" desire but it's the humans" will: ability to suppress their desires, which makes them rational. Animals have no will only desire, therefore they can not be rational. As indicated by Kant, the only thing with any intrinsic value is a good will. Given that animals have no wills at all, they cannot have good wills; they consequently do not have any intrinsic value.

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