Write a 4-5 page essay on one of the following topics. There is no “right” answer to these ethical questions. The key thing is to make an effective argument why your point of view is ethical. Submit your essay to SafeAssign, on WebCampus/BlackBoard.
1. Animals. Some philosophers have argued that animals have some basic rights, such as the right not to be subjected to unnecessary suffering. Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, argues not that animals have the same “rights” as human beings, but that they deserve to receive due “consideration.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) opposes the use of animals in laboratory testing, for food, to make clothing, and in the entertainment industry.
What ethical duty do human beings owe to animals? Is it unethical use animals to conduct tests on pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, or other products? Is it unethical to eat meat? To raise farm animals in confinement? To hunt? To wear leather or fur? To visit SeaWorld? (You need not answer each of these questions—they are intended to be suggestive.)
Do animals have rights? If so, what rights do they have? Where and how do we draw the boundary of what rights or consideration human beings owe to animals?
2. Henry’s wife Elaine was dying from cancer. Doctors said that an experimental new drug might save her. The local pharmacy had a supply of the drug, and the Henry and Elaine tried to buy some, but the drug cost much more than they could afford, and their insurance company refused to pay for the drug.
Henry could not raise enough money to pay for the drug, even after gaining help from family members, friends, and contributors to a GoFundMe page. He explained to the pharmacist that his wife was dying and asked if he could buy the drug now on credit and gradually pay for it. The pharmacist refused.
Henry was desperate to save his wife, and he broke into the pharmacy and stole the drug.
Should Henry have stolen the drug? Should he be punished? What if the person dying was a stranger, instead of Henry’s wife—does it make any difference? Does the pharmacist bear any ethical responsibility if Elaine dies? Does the insurance company?
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