The Premise of “A Dog’s Purpose”

By Risa M. Mandell

The recent outcry over a German Shepherd’s treatment during filming of A Dog’s Purpose was encouraging.  Additionally, let’s consider the premise of the movie:  A Dog’s Purpose is to make humans happy.  This is an atavistic, egregious premise.  The philosopher Tom Regan uses the term “subject-of-a-life” to support the moral authenticity that each sentient being exists in his or her own right and not as a means to an end, such as to make a human happy.  This is congruent with the position in the Humane Party’s Platform, decrying the use of animals for entertainment as a form of exploitation, most emphatically with the publication of its Abolition Amendment this past December 6, 2016.  See the interview in VegNews Magazine with Clifton Roberts, CEO of the Humane Party and the party’s presidential candidate in 2016.