The word and concept of Speciesism was first introduced by Australian moral philosopher, Peter Singer, during the 1970s. His 1975 published book, Animal Liberation, was cited as the start of the animal rights movement, much in the same way there were key figures and publications that began the equal rights and feminism movements.

Growing up as kids we are introduced to animals in all kinds of ways. Majority of households include animals such as cats, dogs and rabbits into their families and they love and care for them dearly. Various cartoon shows and movies revolve around animal characters who we’re meant to relate to, sympathise with, enjoy and ultimately we want them to be happy and rid whatever threat exists in their lives, which is usually human.

Dumbo, Charlotte’s Web, 101 Dalmatians, Babe, Chicken Run .. the list is almost endless.


But the ultimate goal is always the same – the audience, human, connects with and cares for the star of the movie, an animal, and their plight.

We have laws in our society that protect the animals deemed as ‘companion’ animals, and although the punishments are seen as not harsh enough for anyone committing animal cruelty, we are never exempt from feeling terrible and upset when we learn a kitten was purposely drowned, or a dog was starved to death, or a horse was beaten, or a chicken was shoved into a large plastic container and left in the sun. These examples are not isolated incidents, they are occur continually all over the world, across out entire existence.

We rely on various not-for-profit groups and charities to act as the voice of these animals who are so harshly treated by members of our society, and we are outraged when more is not done for them by our Government and think it’s disgusting that pounds an shelters have enormously high kill-rates up near the 80% and 90% mark. Ultimately, we all have the compassion inside ourselves to not want terrible things to happen to animals, and the majority of us would step in and act if we saw a neighbour committing animal cruelty.

What the majority of people fail to make the connection with is that while we are outraged and upset over animal cruelty, cheering for the animals to overcome their obstacles in movies, and filling the Internet up with billions of photos of cute cats that we ooo and aww at, we sit down to dinner and eat the cooked flesh of a farmed animal who has lived their entire life in misery.

Modern society has turned the vision of happy green hill of farm animals munching on grass or eating grains, into a robust, industrialised, vicious machine that restricts the lives and behaviour of these animals so extremely in order to maximise infrastructure, time, and profit. When money is the only goal, the factory farming industry quickly turned into a very dark, cruel, hellish existence. An existence that billions of animals each year experience with no concept of kindness nor happiness. An existence that shows no view of improvement nor reduction.

So, why the disconnect? Why do we love some animals and include them in our families, yet we support subjecting other animals to physical and emotional abuse and then death just so we can have a 15 minute meal?

Why do you think you feel love and compassion towards your dog or cat, but happily eat a pig or cow for dinner?

This is the bridge that any animal activist would like you to consider. It is not to make you feel guilty or to tell you that you’re living your life incorrectly – please do not take this opportunity in that way. It is to ask you to open your heart and your mind and consider, for a moment, that the world we live in promotes and encourages us to prioritise some animals over others. To consider some animals more valuable than others, and to accept blindly that some animals are here for our use, however we see fit, while others have their happiness and needs provided for.

At that logical and rational level, it is very difficult to provide adequate argument as to why this segregation is acceptable. We have rejected racism, sexism and homophobia as a society on the grounds that racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of the members of their own race, sexists and homophobes violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex and orientation, and similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the interests of the members of other species.

The pattern is identical in each case.

You can perhaps now give more weight to the battle animal activists face, and to the understanding of a vegan lifestyle.

Speciesism is the term is used to describe the practice of privileging humans over other animals. Is that what you wish to live your life supporting?

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