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2003 GP ‘A’ Level Application Question (Animal Rights)

With which of the 2 authors are you most in sympathy?

Explain the reasons for your choice.

How relevant are the views raised by both authors to Singapore society?


Kingsley mentions in passage 1 that while we should not be necessarily cruel to animals, our own survival and well-being should always take precedence over that of animals. He presents a less sentimental moral argument which is more reflective given the pragmatic state of society today.

Unlike Kingsley, Reagan in passage 2 mentions that animals have rights regardless of their usefulness to humans. His viewpoint is politically correct and resonates with a small but growing segment of civil society. Though the practicality of using animals to aid Mankind’s survival cannot be underestimated, I tend to sympathize with aspects of Reagan’s arguments as care for lesser beings in society signals the growth of a more aware and sophisticated society.

In addition, despite Kingsley’s assertions that humans must prioritize our survival over animals and that animals are unsalient beings subject to Man’s tyranny, I think that using animals in medical research to aid humanity is useless because no matter how similar animals may appear to be to humans, their DNA is still vastly different from humans. This means that these tests that are preformed are inaccurate. Since we do not benefit much from such inaccurate testing, it is a wasteful and unnecessarily cruel process that should be stopped.

Yet again, Kingley tends to see animals are mere resources and a source of sustenance of mankind. However, I feel that even if we view humans as greater beings be it from a religious viewpoint or a humanist viewpoint, we must still acknowledge our role as custodians of Nature. We have a duty to protect beings that are less able to protect themselves from the ultimate predator, Man. Our total disregard for the animals’ well-being and our wanton consumption of animals constitute a failure of our duty to protect and preserve. Instead of protesting for animal rights which may be futile, there should be more awareness of animal welfare.

Kingsley’s inclination to treat animals merely as resources (and nothing else) is almost in line with the mindset of my society. Indeed my society is a rather pragmatic one. Singaporeans have been trained to embrace rationality and with increasing emphasis on economic progress and technological advances in Singapore, it becomes increasingly harder for us to fight for animal rights. If Singapore adopted Reagan’s call to ban animal testing, we will lose our desirability as a biotechnology hub and this is a consequence that we cannot bear.

Yet at the same time, as we take pride in becoming a developed country which has attained success in many areas, Singapore will not want to lose its solid reputation by being perceived as lacking in sympathy for animals. Indeed, by making it a point to publicize and shame those who mistreat or kill animals wantonly we are recognizing that animals deserve rights and their welfare should be taken care of.

Whilst I think both views are relevant to Singapore, the relevance of Kingley’s view may be greater bearing in mind that Man does not have the liberty to abuse animals but should adopt respectful stewardship.


Ev (characteristics of modern society)


--Comparative element introduced

(characteristics of modern society)



-comparative element

Ev/ Ex

Using adjectives as value-judgments






--Characteristics of Singapore


I sympathize most with the author of passage 1 as I feel that he lacks the human affection to show care and concern for animals, preferring to utilize them fully without even a tiny bit of regret.

In passage 1, Patrick writes that animals should have no rights due to their lack of self-awareness and their low intelligence level. They act solely on instinct and live in a world without rules, thus justifying human’s actions to make use of them. In Singapore, many people also ill-treat animals for their own pleasure. Hence, cases of abuse of pets are not uncommon and buying of products made from skin. Not to mention playing around with stray cats and dogs just for fun. All these are done in Singapore for their own self-interest which signifies cruelty.

However, in Passage 2, Tom fights for animal rights, saying that not being able to think like humans does not deprive them of any rights. Not being able to communicate like humans does not put humans in higher stature. If that is the case, does it mean that handicapped people should be treated with less importance, since they are not as smart intellectually? In Singapore, there are also efforts to try to show animals care and concern. Our own Sungei nature reserve is one good example, attending to the needs of different types of birds. Animals are treated with respect and that should be the way. Singapore has the SPCA too to deal with people who abuse animals.

Therefore, I sympathise with Patrick as all the while, he has a totally wrong mentality and Singapore should continue to uphold its duties to protect animals.

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