Wednesday, March 9
It has been about a month since I have finished the landmark book of animal rights- Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer. All of the chapters in Animal Liberation deal with hard facts, up until the very last chapter that Singer emotionally appeals to readers while stressing that just an emotional appeal is not enough
The most important thing I got from the book was the term "speciesism", which was first used by Dr. Richard Ryder, but popularized by Singer. So what is "speciesism"? You're correct, it's placing rights to a group on the basis of their species.
In the words of Dr. Ryder, "I use the word 'speciesism'...to describe the widespread discrimination that is practised by man against other species ... Speciesism is discrimination, and like all discrimination it overlooks or underestimates the similarities between the discriminator and those discriminated against."
In an everyday example that everyone has run across, people would get offended if they were said to be "equal" with animals; they even went as far as to say that "animals are inferior, there is no doubt about it." Right, because that is the same rationality people used to crusade laws suppressing civil rights for African Americans, and currently, the gay rights movement. If you have found yourself agreeing with that statement, I implore you to re-think your stance.
People have all had prejudices against each other, through race, age, sex, sexual orientation, cultural groups, and religious affiliation. Speciesism refers to not human-to-human prejudices, but human to non-human prejudices. Many times these prejudices are made unconsciously due to factors all around us. Why do marketers say "pork" and not "pig", "beef" and not "cow"? How about my favorite, "veal" instead of "muscular-atrophied baby cows"?