Peter Singer's appointment as professor of bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values has touched off a fierce debate at the school. In his books and other writings, Singer argues that humans should not receive preferential treatment over animals. The traditional view treats human beings as holding special rights because they are created in the image and likeness of God — a view that Singer rejects as a “religious premise.”

From Practical Ethics:

“It is speciesist to judge that the life of a normal adult member of our species is more valuable than the life of a normal adult mouse.”

“Even an abortion late in pregnancy for the most trivial of reasons is hard to condemn unless we also condemn the slaughter of far more developed forms of life for the taste of their flesh.”

“When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed.”

From All Animals Are Equal:

“But what is this capacity to enjoy the good life which [William Frankena says] all humans have, but no other animals? Other animals have emotions and desires, and appear to be capable of enjoying a good life. We may doubt that they can think — although the behavior of some apes, dolphins and even dogs suggests that some of them can — but what is the relevance of thinking? Frankena goes on to admit that by ‘the good life’ he means ‘not so much the morally good life as the happy or satisfactory life,” so thought would appear to be unnecessary for enjoying the good life; in fact to emphasize the need for thought would make difficulties for the egalitarian since only some people are capable of leading intellectually satisfying lives, or morally good lives. This makes it difficult to see what Frankena's principle of equality has to do with simply being human. Surely every sentient being is capable of leading a life that is happier of less miserable than some alternative life, and hence has a claim to be taken into account. In this respect the distinction between humans and nonhumans is not a sharp division, but rather a continuum along which we move gradually, and with overlaps between the species, from simple capacities for enjoyment and satisfaction, or pain and suffering, to more complex ones.”

—The Family Research Council and The American Life League contributed to this report