Thinking out loud


In Blog on December 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

This post is going to be about Speciesism, in particular which factors within modern societies are inducing ecological dissociation and apathy towards other species of animal. At first I was reluctant to post because it will be received as being controversial but as this is a place to share my thoughts here it goes…

For those of you that are unaware or unsure of what the term Speciesism means; It is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970 which refers to the widely held belief that the human species is inherently superior to other species which gives us rights or privileges that are denied to other forms of life.

After learning about Speciesism, you may think, well it is inherent and probably due to various environmental and sociocultural conditions during anthropological evolution. This is true and we do have an inherent moral obligation to protect our species over another (dependent on the situation), however after the realization or observation of prejudice towards other species of animal how can this behaviour be morally justified? Why has it become acceptable to treat other animals this way?

This apathy towards other species stems from years of indoctrinated dissociation between ourselves and the ecosystem, which is being predominantly promoted through culture particularly mass media. It is firmly embedded into almost all cultures around the world and what is worrying to me is that people accept it.

So what constitutes speciesist behaviour and how is it being promoted through culture?

As I said before behavior which implies that an individual is superior to another species of animal is speciesist behavior. This could be through actions such as physically harming or verbally abusing another species.

Here are a few aspects of society that you may be familiar with that are directly influencing speciesism:

  • Entertainment such as sports using other animals such as horse and grey hound racing, Circus’s etc…
  • Medicine in relation to testing on other animals, the longevity of life has become a real issue. Causing overpopulation not only affecting the ecosystem but quality of life for ourselves. We should be focused on quality rather than quantity after all we have to die some day…
  • Supermarkets and chain stores mass producing meat are a massive influence on apathy towards other species. Stacks of animal carcasses neatly cut, processed and marketed to psychologically distance people from the gruesome reality of animal slaughter.
  • Domesticating other animals, often induces objectification of another species.
  • Religion, superstition and spirituality are also an influence on apathy because of certain beliefs towards other species for reasons I won’t get into because it has become a sensitive subject and may become a theme for another post.
  • Language; The modernity and evolution of language has influenced speciesism because language allows us to understand our surroundings by associating words with what we can sense. I have noticed over the years that people are constantly dissociating themselves by the use and structure of phrases such as; stop behaving like animals. I am always baffled as to what the person thinks they are. What are we if not animals? Each to their own delusions I guess…

What then can be done about relieving speciesism from society?

Piglet 🙂

Well I think the acknowledgment that speciesism exists is a good start, it has helped me observe how others think and see other species of animal. Life style changes such as eating a plant based diet and using non-animal tested products are also a good way to avoid becoming speciesist and it also helps to educate others about the exploitation of other animals.

Something that has really helped me illustrate speciesism is the use of language, it may seem small but by thinking about the way in which you write or talk about another animal removes that subconscious thought that we aren’t animals . For example the use of the word other or another suggests that we are also a species of animal.

If you have any questions or anything to add feel free to add a comment below


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