VanDe Veer and Callicot are two critical modifcators of animal rights ethics and the hierarchical positions. The former, believes that there is this “internal,” critical modification, in some degree, of the sentience which is morally relevant. The latter, believes in a modified version of leoplodian critical modification. To some degree, the importance of ecosystems and their goods and services are morally relevant.
Basically, “VanDeVeer argues that the ‘species egalitarianism’ of Singer and Regan goes too far in acknowledging the moral standing of nonhuman animals and leaves us in a state of paralysis when it comes to those ethical conflicts in which we must make hard choices between human and nonhuman interests” (Diagrams of Environmental Ethics Theories). Instead, VanDe Veer takes a two-factor position. His two-factor position claims that, “in weighing our duty to sentient beings in ethical conflicts, it is ‘morally relevant’ to consider the first “factor” of what types of conflicting interests are in conflict.” First, we must evaluate our basic interests, which without a being cannot function satisfactory. Second, we must evaluate our serious interests, which still allows the being to function, albeit with difficulty and a cost to its well-being. This second factor can also include differing levels of psychological capacity, like self-awareness, memory, foresight, social-consciousness, and life-span. VanDe Veer sees a difficulty in measuring the sentience of human and non-human animals. How do we take each of their sentience into account during times of great conflict? (look at the chart to see his resolution).
On the other hand there is Callicott, and he takes on Leopoldian land ethics. Callicott believes that to a certain degree, ecosystems, its good and services, are morally relevant. He believes in strong reformism. Meaning, we has human beings have a duty torwards animals because virtually all human beings are sentient beings; thus a plethora of animals are sentient creatures. Respecting the community, and each other, us sentient beings need to make sure, in times of conflict, that we are not letting the other sentient creature suffer. Of those animals who are capable of suffering, we can assume they have at least on interest, which is not to suffer.
However, there is another viewpoint. Although the above seem to be reaching for the middle-of-the-road, Radical Speciecism takes the far right. It believes that it is morally permissible to treat animals in any fashion one so chooses. Because animals are not sentient beings, therefore they have no intrinsic values. Yet, if we acknowledge that animals suffer, which they do, then radical speciesism is mistaken, and false.
From my perspective, I would rather take the middle-of-the-road agrument than take the radical speciecism route. Yes, I do admit that there are tons of radical beliefs out in this world, but I do not believe that all of them are right. I mean, if you cannot admit to yourself that animals are sentient, just like us, then you are fooling yourself; causing an injustice with not only yourself, your environment, but to your world as well. Although that might seem like a harsh slap in the face, it is a much needed, rude wake-up call. Listen people, we need to change our ways, because most animals are sentient creatures who can feel pain and perceive danger, they are like us. The only different between us and non-human animals is our ability to rationalize situations; but I do not believe that puts us on top of the prymaid.