Making factory farming more humane misses the point of immorality and injustice of the use of animals as resources.
Indeed there are those philosophers who believed that animals do not have moral status equal to humans.
Human exceptionalism is based on the premise that humans have superior abilities compared to other animals.
For example humans can have social relationships in particular family relationships – they also have the ability to use language – they can reason and feel pain.
Sixteenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes – known for his dictum ‘I think – therefore I am’ thought that animals were not conscious – did not have minds and consequently did not experience pain.
They were – according to Descartes – ‘automata’ – just complex machines.
Indeed his views were later used to justify the practice of vivisection on animals for many centuries.
German philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that it was personhood that distinguished humans from animals.
For Kant humans set their own moral rules based on reason and act upon them.
This is something that animals cannot do.
The moral case against meat
More astute observations and scientific studies however – have shown that animals do experience pain analogous to humans and have feelings.
For example elephants have complex emotional lives – including grieving for loved ones and complex social and family relationships.
Thus excluding animals from moral consideration and eating animals cannot be justified because they lack these characteristics.