Originally posted 6 August 2014, revised and links updated 22 January 2018
Speciesism is a pervasive form of prejudice, taught to us all in our earliest years, that blinkers members of our species into the unfounded belief that we are so much more important than, or so superior to all other beings on the planet that we may harm and kill them for whatever trivial reasons we devise, without conscience and without any moral justification whatsoever. A form of oppression directed at other living individuals, speciesism is the practice of according or withholding the rights that belong to others by virtue of their birth, based solely upon their species. Much is written about the term, however we may easily gain awareness of it by examining our own attitudes and looking at the world about us.
How do we see speciesism in action?
Speciesism is happening when we needlessly slaughter and consume other sentient individuals, when we take away their infants so that we may breastfeed in their place, when we selectively breed them so that they will produce eggs for our consumption despite the fact that it destroys their health, when we perpetrate a myriad other atrocities upon them with absolutely no justification whatsoever. Using brute force and technology we assert our dominance over every other species, wilfully denying their every right to life and freedom from deliberate harm, in favour of our own trivial, frivolous and unnecessary habits and convenience.
Speciesism is happening when we profess to love dogs and cats but ‘farm’ members of other species, assigning a completely nonsense category of ‘food animals’ to them despite their sharing the exact same quality of sentience that we recognise and value in our companions.
Speciesism is happening when we see fundraisers being held for cat and dog rescues where the pitiful corpses of defenceless members of other species, are dismembered, charred and devoured by smiling people discussing how much they ‘love’ animals and hate ‘cruelty‘.
Speciesism is happening when many eagerly sign and share petitions against fur and zoos and circuses and the killing of whales, while eating burgers, bacon and eggs and drinking milk; vociferously treading the moral high ground in leather boots and wool jackets while failing to spot any irony whatsoever.
Speciesism is happening when we promote unproven or imagined reductions in the level of torment to which our needless victims are subjected, or changes to the environment in which we confine and use them, as a ‘step in the right direction’ because of their species. Speciesism is happening when we accept or promote conditions and procedures for our victims that we would consider vile and completely unthinkable if those victims were either human, or members of the companion species with whom we share our homes.
Speciesism is happening when we support industry-developed ‘welfare‘ regulations that govern treatment of our unnecessary victims, and are fooled into thinking that these represent concern for the wellbeing of these victims, when in fact they are purely profit-driven and concerned only for the financial benefit of those who farm and harm others in response to consumer demand. Again, if these same ‘welfare regulations’ were applied to humans or members of the companion species with whom we share our homes, we would be outraged beyond belief and would instantly spot the duplicity.
Speciesism is happening when we accept the unacceptable as ‘good enough’ if our victim is not human. It’s why the values of justice, fairness, honesty and the rejection of needless violence that we all like to think are part of what defines each of us as an individual, are applied only to certain species, while towards others as consumers of their torment, we support and pay for the most depraved and brutal practices that our species can devise.
Only on the day we open our eyes and realise that every single one of our victims values their life, and that we have no need or right to take that life away, do we begin to cast aside the blinkers of speciesism.
Once we do that, we have no choice but to become vegan.
Get information about veganism here: