What speciesism is and why it is not fair?
Have you ever heard of speciesism? It’s a term that might not be familiar to everyone, but it’s an important concept that sheds light on the unfair treatment of certain species. So, what is speciesism exactly? Simply put, it refers to the belief that certain species, typically human beings, are superior to others and therefore deserving of more rights and privileges.
Speciesism is the belief that some species are inherently more valuable or deserving of moral consideration than others, and is used to justify the exploitation and mistreatment of animals. Just like racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice, speciesism is a discriminatory belief system that unjustly values one group over another. It perpetuates inequality and violates the basic principles of justice and equality.
For an example, while dogs and cats are often seen as companions and valued for their loyalty and affection, animals such as pigs, cows, and chickens are seen primarily as sources of food. Distinction between pets and food animals is a cultural and personal one that is shaped by beliefs and attitudes. There are five reasons why speciesism is not fair:
1. All animals feel pain and suffering
Regardless of whether an animal is a pet or a food animal, all animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. Animal exploitation, whether it’s for food, entertainment, or any other purpose, is a form of oppression that causes immeasurable pain and suffering to our non-human friends. For example, a common practice in the livestock industry is factory farming, where animals are kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions and subjected to cruel practices such as tail docking and castration without any pain relief. These practices cause animals to experience significant physical and psychological suffering, and demonstrate the inherent cruelty of speciesism.
Another example is the use of animals in circuses and other forms of entertainment. Animals used in circuses are often subjected to physical and psychological abuse as they are trained to perform unnatural and often painful acts. This exploitation of animals for entertainment is an example of speciesism in action, as it prioritises human enjoyment over the well-being and basic rights of animals. These examples illustrate why speciesism is not fair and how it leads to the exploitation and suffering of animals.
2. Animals have unique personalities and individuality
Animals have unique personalities, emotions, and individual preferences. Ignoring these characteristics and treating animals as mere commodities is unjust and cruel. Farm animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, are often considered mere commodities in the livestock industry and subjected to inhumane treatment. However, these animals also have unique personalities and individual preferences.
For example, pigs are highly intelligent animals with complex social relationships and individual personalities. Studies have shown that pigs have individual preferences for different foods and toys, and that they are capable of empathy, problem solving, and even deception. Pigs also have unique vocalisations and body language that express their emotions and individuality.
Cows are social animals that form strong bonds with other members of their herd. They also have individual personalities, and studies have shown that cows can be dominant, submissive, friendly, or nervous, depending on their individual characteristics. Cows have been found to have individual preferences for food and social interaction, and they are capable of exhibiting complex emotions, including joy, excitement, and distress.