Non-Speciesist Language

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“Our words reveal our social and moral beliefs” - Joan Dunayer


Why focus on language?

On this comprehensive and extensive page, we hope to convey not only the importance of non-oppressive language in your anti-speciesism but its power and function in the fight for total liberation. We are inspired by the work of Joan Dunayer and her literature, both in Animal Equality: Language and liberation and Speciesism. We hope this becomes a resource for you to re-learn and edit your communication. Unlearning speciesist language is about reimagining your inner world, this may be easy or difficult, the key is to focus on the why of non-speciesist language.

As Mihran Nersesyan explains in their article about the ableist slur, stupid:

“Changing the way we speak is really tough. Words are the fabric of our thoughts. Re-forming the words that we use means reshaping our minds. But that’s exactly why it’s so necessary and so potent. Just as we cannot shape a new society without fully deconstructing the old, we cannot liberate our minds without dismantling the ways that we think and communicate.”

How language shapes the way we think by Lera Boroditsky (This TedTalk is communicated in an anthropocentric way and the ableist slur lunatic is used)

Language f*ckery has been around since the beginning of human language. Language has been used to subjugate and oppress minorities, be that of womxn, queer people, disabled people or neurodivergent people. Language can also be reclaimed, reimagined, redefined, and used for liberation.

Nonhuman animals (nonhumans for short) are no different, they experience the devastating effects of speciesist language, while probably not offended by human language, speciesist language naturally elicits the communicator and receiver to objectify nonhumans, resulting in real-world consequences of these thought and communication processes. 

We all must shift how we communicate. It can be life-changing both for how we as humans experience our inner world, but also how other humans are then guided to experience it and everyone in it by simply communicating with you.

We actively incorporate non-cissexist, non-sexist, non-ableist, non-racist and environmental language into our non-speciesist language advocacy.

Wordslut: a feminist guide to taking back the English language by Amanda Montell is an excellent guide to non-sexist and non-cissexist language. She, inclusionary of trans and nonbinary people, explains the interesting etymology of sexist language in an encapsulating and rebellious way. She touches on speciesist language in the form of nonhuman animals’ species names or terms as insults (cow, bitch, etc.) but only how it relates to womxn in a sexist way. Sexism and speciesism often overlap as they are interconnected. Below are videos on anti-trans slurs and respecting people’s pronouns.

The term “dehumanised” is used here frequently, we advocate for the word “depersonalised” meaning “divest of individuality” which decentres humanness as the only morally valuable characteristic of an animal.

"My pronouns are they/them/theirs, and that's a non-negotiable. They're so important because they are the smallest and easiest way that you can acknowledge somebody's identity." Trans students explain why pronouns are so important.

We also highly recommend Animal Equality: Language & Liberation by Joan Dunayer, this extensive page on ableist language by Autistic Hoya and their blog post on linguistic ableism. Some racist language is fairly well known such as the n-word, but some words such as g*psy are not widely known to be racial slurs, this resource gives a wide range of resources on how racism manifests and provides examples of racist language. George Monbiot advocates better language for the natural world, with articles here and here (note some language by Monbiot may be speciesist, language centring nonhumans as well as the language we apply to insentient organisms, things and places where they live all need revising and inspection)

Here we will go through pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, industry terms, idioms, sentence structure, punctuation, manner of presentation, insults, and general word choices which degrade or respect nonhumans as moral persons. Again, we draw directly from Joan Dunayer’s work, while building from it.

The best and most productive way to spread non-speciesist language is to communicate with it and educate others on it constructively. If something on this page is inaccessible to you please let us know through our anonymous form. Abled allies of disabled or neurodivergent people have got language terrifically wrong before, with terms such as “differently-abled” and “handicapable,” so we recognise our inabilities as human allies to get everything right for nonhumans. This moral duty falls under those specialised in linguistics and collective analysis and critique of modern human languages.

“The way that we speak about other animals is inseparable from the way that we treat them […] speciesist language sanctions cruelty and murder” - Joan Dunayer


Manner of presentation


narration (nonhuman biography and slices of life) to convey a sense of individual nonhuman lives and/or their communities

vivid description of particular nonhumans and their experience to help readers or listeners visualise their situations and empathise

actual examples of violence, abuse or disrespect to illustrate general facts and reality of nonhuman oppression (speciesism)


strictly theoretical discussion of nonhuman-animal violence

excessively generic or abstract reference to nonhuman animals (all members of some category or the “average” member)


Sentence structure


syntax that makes nonhuman animals the grammatical subject, especially if they’re the primary actors or victims

word order that gives nonhuman animals a sentence’s most empathetic position: beginning and end

word order that frequently places nonhumans before humans (nonhuman and human animals; the cat Jessie and her human companion Steve)


syntax that buries nonhuman animals inside a list, dependant clause, or prepositional phrase

syntax that equates nonhuman beings with inanimate things (The tornado destroyed a barn and ten cows)


Word choices



animals to include all life (nonhuman and human) with a nervous system

mammals, primates, and apes to include humans

persons, individuals, others, and people to include nonhumans

the same vocabulary for nonhumans and humans (pigs and humans eat rather than feed; the bodies of dead sheeps or humans are corpses, not carcasses; like some womxn and trans people, some dogs and cats with uteruses have ovariohysterectomies rather than are spayed)

parallel forms for nonhumans and humans (nonhuman and human animals; humans and dogs instead of human beings and dogs, mankind and dogs, or man and dogs)


expressions that elevate humans above other animals (human kindness; the rational species; the sanctity of human life)

human-nonhuman comparisons that patronise nonhumans (almost human; Chimpanzees have many human characteristics)

hierarchal references to animals (lower animals; subhuman; inferior)

dismissive just, mere, only, and even before animal terms (a mere beetle; they’re just animals)

pejorative nonhuman-animal metaphors and similes (bitch; to parrot; eat like a pig)

the imprecise, demeaning and ableist terms beast, brute, and dumb animal

terms that portray nonhumans relatively free of human control and genetic manipulation as dangerous and inferior (wild animals; mongrel; mutt)

category labels that depict nonhuman animals in a particular situation as animals of a particular type (lab animal; poultry; companion animal)

derogatory reference to nonhuman animals (creepy crawlies, monsters, alien(s), cops are pigs, politicians are reptiles, etc.)


Nonhuman thought and feeling


words that directly attribute thought and feeling to nonhuman animals (understand; joy; eager)

verbs that imply nonhuman emotion and intention (romped instead of leaped about; fled instead of ran)

connecting words that invest nonhuman action with purpose (bounded in for their supper; jumped onto the windowsill so that they can look outside; barked because someone rang the doorbell)

strong words for intense nonhuman feelings (severe suffering; love rather than affection; pain rather than discomfort)


overqualified reference to nonhuman thought and feeling (seemed to recognise; as if she felt pain; This behaviour might indicate loneliness)


Nonhuman individuals


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use she, he or they if you know their gender. Avoid using she/he pronouns until you know their gender by always using they, often within cisheteropatriarchy nonhumans are typically addressed he as standard. (using cis pronouns for nonhumans with particular genitals is debatable as it forces human cis-normative ideals on nonhuman animals where it may be inaccurate, if you have a strong understanding of this particular subject please let us know)

they for an unspecified individual (Whenever I see a tortoise on the road, I move them to safety; If another hawk comes, let’s watch them through binoculars; One of the goats [among various genders] already had their vaccinations.

a singular sex-specific pronoun when a singular indefinite term, such as any or each, refers to group members of the same sex (Every cow stayed close to her calf; Any cock who tried to escape had his neck wrung; Each earthworm struggled when they were pierced by the hook)

they when a singular indefinite term refers to members of a group that includes individuals of different sexes or unknown sex (Neither deer [a buck and a doe] recovered from their wounds; Each alligator had so little space that they barely could move)

who (not that, which or what) for any sentient beings

anybody/anyone, everybody/everyone, nobody/no one, and somebody/someone (not anything, everything, nothing, or something) for any sentient beings.

relational references to nonhuman animals after possessive pronouns (my cat companion, not my cat, our canary friends, not our canaries)

personal names for nonhuman animals (Sam; Lucy; Max)

the most specific nontechnical way of referring to a particular nonhuman (Toby the horned toad rather than a horned toad; a beagle rather than a dog; an albino rat rather than a Sprague-Dawley rat)

language that replaces nonhuman individuals from their groups (killed a member of an endangered species, not killed an endangered species; captured birds of 22 species, not captured 22 species of birds)

inflected animal plurals in preference to uninfected (many fishes rather than many fish; five trouts rather than five trout; three mooses rather than three moose; twenty deers rather than twenty deer)

number (not amount) references to living animals (how many geese, not how much geese; catch three catfishes, not catch eight pounds of catfish; some of the cows, not part of the herd)


language that replaces nonhuman animals with a site (poisoned the fish tank; pig farms that experience disease)

reference to living animals as if they were remains (raise beef; trophy hunter; fur trapper)

reference to remains as if they were living animals (milk-fed veal; grain-fed beef; a turkey in reference to turkey remains)

terms that equate nonhumans animals with insentient things (the oyster crop; reference to mice as research tools; reference to sharks as killing machines)

commodify references to nonhuman animals (livestock; surplus dogs and cats; reference to male chicks as egg-industry byproducts)

language that conveys a proprietary view of nonhuman animals (fisheries; wildlife conservation; Vandals killed the zoo’s falcon)

reference to nonhumans as human-created (build a better cow; genetically engineered mice; trout production)

terms that negate any animal’s uniqueness (replacement lambs; standardised dogs; reference to nonhumans as renewable resources)

reference to all members of a group as if they were a single animal (the woodpecker for all woodpeckers; the silverfish for silverfishes in general)


Speciesist violence


everyday language free of jargon (stab with a large hook, not gaff, breaking the neck, not cervical dislocation)

moralistic language (murder, violence, speciesism), not morally detached language such as that of economics, experimentation, or recreation.

political terms with legal implications (animal rights; justice; personhood)

equally strong words for human and nonhuman suffering and death (extreme; tragic; terrible)

wording that keeps nonhuman animals in view (Many pigs died, not Mortality was high; The trapped fox struggled, not Struggling occurred)


expressions that trivialise violence towards nonhuman animals (kill two birds with one stone, have other fish to fry)

euphemisms for violence (fur farming; animal agriculture; biomedical research for vivisection)

understatements about nonhuman suffering and death (Zoos may not be ideal homes; Hunters don’t always aim perfectly)

positive words in reference to violence (farm-animal welfare; humane treatment in reference to vivisection; educational in reference to aquaprisons or zoos)

oxymorons (humane slaughter; necessary evil; shooting preserve; responsible breeding)

terms that disguise killing as protection (shelter for a facility where healthy nonhumans are killed; wildlife refuge for a place where hunting of fishing is allowed)

words that glamorise inbreeding (thoroughbreds; purebred dogs; improved turkeys)

language that blames nonhuman victims (an orangutan who escapes from a zoo stubbornly resists recapture; elephant punished for rebelling against circus enslavement)

expressions that imply nonhuman victimisation is natural and acceptable (work like a horse; human guinea pig; treated us like animals)

wording that portrays nonhumans as willing victims (monkeys who participate in experiments and give their lives; a captured octopus who took up residence in an aquaprison)

over- terms that implicitly sanction less-rampant killing and less-extreme coercion (overhunt; overfish; overwork a horse)

language that depicts choice as necessity (necessary evil in reference to vivisection; carnivores or predators in reference to humans)

reference to exploiters as protectors (animal lover in reference to a vivisector; animal welfarist in reference to a bovine enslaver)

punning or other wordplay that invites people to smirk at atrocities (the title They Eat Horses, Don’t They? or You Can Lead a Horse to Slaughter for an article on horse slaughter; the slogan Don’t Gobble Me or Thanksgiving Is Murder On Turkeys intended to protest turkeys’ mass murder)




quotation marks around euphemisms (predator “control” for the killing of predators; “discipline” for beatings; “collection” for capture; “welfarists” for speciesists protesting for “less-cruel” nonhuman exploitation)

quotation marks around language that reduces animals to things (the crab “harvest”; “depleted” fish “stocks”; the use of mouse “models”)

quotation marks around terms that indirectly denigrate nonhuman animals (“brutal”; “animal instinct”; “bestiality”)


scare-quotes around accurate terms for speciesist violence (“torture”; “enslavement”; “genocide”)

scare-quotes around words that acknowledge nonhuman thought and feeling (“grief”; “happiness”; “realised”)

quotation marks around a nonhuman animal’s personal name (“Billie” the golden hamster) unless the name is contemptuous


Rights-based non-speciesist language


emphasise and centre nonhumans’ moral rights in all discussion around their oppression (such as their right to life and liberty, their right to freedom of movement, their right to be free from exploitation, their right to bodily autonomy, their right to freedom from slavery and forced labour)

accurate terms to describe speciesist actions or systems if applicable (rights violations, disrespect, injustice, violence, torture, assault, sexual violations, cross-species rape, enslavement, human supremacy, exploitation, oppression, subjugation, discrimination, murder, genocide, infanticide, abuse, cruelty, killing, slaughter)

terms that present equal treatment and systems properly (respect, justice, fairness, animal equality, equality)

terms that centre nonhumans, nonhuman resistance and animality, and that de-centre humans, humanness and humanity (their movement, the movement not our movement; this is what we owe nonhuman animals not this is what we do for nonhuman animals; they aided in their liberation not they liberated them)


improper use of terms that can diminish speciesist violence (animal cruelty, animal abuse, harming animals)

artificial non-speciesist terms or wordplay (anymals: a word created to describe an animal other than from your own species; the animal harming industry, harmer)

pedestaling basic decency (kindness, compassion, mercy)

terms that derail properly addressing speciesism and speciesists (welfarism, carnism, welfarist, carnist) why is carnism speciesist?

terms that redirect away from nonhuman rights (illegal, legal, standards, conditions, cage-free, free-range, factory farming, sustainable, [organisation] approved, grass-fed, organic, high welfare, good treatment)

terms that erase nonhuman individuals and communities from everyday communication by only including humans (world [human] population, [human] communities)

“sociocultural linguists have long recognised that speech is action. When we speak, we inform, disagree, and debate; we insult, apologize, and convince; we mock, seduce, and compliment. We use language to validate and invalidate people’s identities, to demean them and to lift them up. We use language to oppress and to liberate, to incite violence and to maintain peace.” - Lal Zimman



Pronouns for nonhuman animals

speciesist / non-speciesist (in alphabetical order)

anything / anyone, anybody

everything / everyone, everybody

it / they, she, he

nothing / no one, nobody

something / someone, somebody

that, what, which / who

Nonhuman/Human Terms

animal instinct / instinct

animals (excluding humans), dumb animals, lower animals, subhuman animals / nonhuman animals, other animals, nonhumans, nonhuman beings, nonhuman persons, nonhuman people

apes (excluding humans) / nonhuman apes, other apes

beast, brute / nonhuman animal, nonhuman mammal

bestial / depraved

bestiality / rape, cross-species rape, human rape of a nonhuman

bond (between two nonhumans or a human and nonhuman) / friendship, love

brutal / cruel, violent, harsh, severe

brutish / coarse, crude, insensitive

calf, foal, whelp (etc) / give birth

dam n. / mother

endangered animal, endangered species (in reference to an individual not personally endangered) / member of an endangered species

even (as in “Even insects feel”) / also, too, as well (as in “Insects, too, feel”)

feed on / eat

gestation / pregnancy

higher animals / mammals, birds and mammals, vertebrates

human kindness / kindness

humane / kind, compassionate, just, benevolent, righteous

humans’ animal nature / human carnality, human physicality

inhumane / cruel, violent, unjust

just animals (as in “They're just animals”), mere flies, only rodents (etc.) / nonhuman animals, flies, rodents (etc.)

living things, organisms (excluding humans) / other living beings and things, other organisms

man, mankind, people (meaning all humans) / humans, human animals, human people

many bird species, various species of ants (etc., in reference to individuals) / birds of many species, ants of various species (etc.)

necropsy / autopsy, postmortem

person (meaning any human) / human, human person

primates (excluding humans) / nonhuman primates, other primates

sire / father

species of lizard, spider species (etc., meaning an individual) / lizard, spider (etc.)

specimen, thing (in reference to an individual, as in “this thing”) / garter snake, centipede (etc.); individual

water v. (a nonhuman animal) / give water to

the wild / nature, native habitat, a natural environment

wild animals, wildlife / free-living nonhumans, non-“domesticated” nonhumans

Hunting terms

bag, collect, cull, harvest, remove (etc.) / kill, murder

fowl, game-birds, wildfowl / sport-hunted birds, targeted birds

game, game animals, trophy animals / bird-shooting operation, mammal-shooting operation, animal-shooting operation, shooting operation

game farm, game ranch, hunting ranch / bird-shooting operation, mammal-shooting operation, animal-shooting operation, shooting operation

game management / promoting hunting, regulated hunting, manipulating populations for hunting

game preserve, game refuge, shooting preserve; wildlife refuge (that allows hunting) / hunting area

overhunting / hunting, genocide by hunting, decimating a nonhuman population

sportsman, trophy hunter / hunter, sports hunter, trophy-seeking hunter, nonhuman-animal killer

waterfowl (pl.) / sport-hunted water birds, targeted water birds


bait / nonhuman animal used as bait

baitfish / fish used as bait

catch n. / caught fishes, killed fishes

fight a fish, play a fish / torture a fish

fisheries management / promoting fishing, regulated fishing, manipulating populations for fishing

fisherman, sportsman / fisher, sport fisher, fish killer

gamefish, sport-fish (pl.) / fishes caught for sport, fishes killed for sport

overfishing / fishing, genocide by fishing, decimating a fish population

overplay a fish / torture a fish to death

trash fish / despised fish, resented fish

trophy fish / large fish, targeted fish

zoo and aquaprison terms

“In his novel “1984” George Orwell depicts a totalitarian state that brainwashes the public through doublespeak, including slogans “freedom is slavery” and “slavery is freedom.” Like Orwell’s fictional argents of mind control, zoo promoters work at convincing the public that Freedom is Captivity and Captivity is Freedom.” - Joan Dunayer

aquarium, marine park / aquaprison, aquatic-animal prison

aquarium animal, aquarium resident / aquaprison inmate, aquaprison captive

caretaker / captor, keeper

collection / inmates, prisoners, captives

curator / captor, principle keeper

display animal / aquaprison inmate, aquaprison captive, zoo inmate, zoo prisoner, zoo captive

enclosure (in reference to a cage) / cage

habitat, home (in reference to confinement area) / confinement area, enclosure, cage, cell, tank, pool

handler (as in “elephant handler”) / keeper, oppressor, abuser

pool (in reference to a tank) / tank

trainer (as in “dolphin trainer”) / exploiter, oppressor, abuser

zoo animal, zoo resident / zoo inmate, zoo prisoner, zoo captive

Vivisection terms

animal experimentation, animal research, animal testing, biomedical research (that harms nonhuman animals) / vivisection

donor animal, experimental animal, laboratory animal, research animal, test animal / vivisected nonhuman animal, nonhuman animal used in vivisection

euthanise, put down, sacrifice (etc.) / kill, murder

experimenter, researcher, scientist (who harms other animals) / vivisector

genetic engineering (of nonhuman animals) / gene insertion, vivisection

necessary evil / evil

food-industry terms

abattoir; meat plant, packing plant, processing plant (in reference to a killing facility) / slaughterhouse

agricultural animal, farm animal, farmed animal, food animal / enslaved nonhuman, food-industry captive, nonhuman animal enslaved for food, nonhuman animal exploited for food

animal agriculture; farming (of nonhuman animals); ranching / food-industry enslavement and slaughter, food-industry captivity, enslaving other animals for food, exploiting other animals for food

aquaculture / fish enslavement, crustacean enslavement, mollusk enslavement, aquatic-animal enslavement; fish (etc.) captivity; fish (etc.) enslavement and slaughter; enslaving fishes (etc.) for food; exploiting fishes (etc.) for food

aquaculturist / fish enslaver, crustacean enslaver, mollusk enslaver, aquatic-animal enslaver; fish (etc.) exploiter

bacon, ham, pork (etc.) / pig flesh

beef, hamburger, steak (etc.) / cow flesh

beef cow / enslaved cow, captive cow, exploited cow, cow reared for slaughter

beef industry, pork industry, poultry industry, veal industry (etc.) / cow-flesh industry, pig-flesh industry, bird-flesh industry, calf-flesh industry (etc.)

beef producer, dairy farmer, egg producer, pork producer, poultry producer, veal farmer (etc.) / bovine enslaver, cow enslaver, bird enslaver, calf enslaver (etc.); bovine exploiter

broiler, roaster (meaning a chicken) / enslaved chicken, captive chicken, exploited chicken, chicken reared for slaughter

catfish farm, cattle ranch, sheep farm, turkey farm (etc.) / catfish confinement facility, bovine confinement facility (etc.); catfish (etc.) enslavement facility; catfish (etc.) enslavement operation.

chevon / goat flesh

chicken, lamb, tuna, (etc., meaning the food) / chicken flesh, lamb flesh, tuna flesh (etc.)

a chicken, a turkey, a whole bird, a whole fish (etc., in reference to remains) / chicken remains, turkey remains, bird remains, fish remains (etc.)

cowboy / bovine abuser, cow abuser, bovine exploiter, cow exploiter

cull v. / kill, murder, send to slaughter, sell

cutlet, fillet, meat (etc.) / flesh, muscle

dairy cow, milk cow / enslaved cow, captive cow, exploited cow, cow enslaved for her milk, cow exploited for her milk

dairy goat, milk goat / enslaved goat, captive goat, exploited goat, goat enslaved for her milk, goat exploited for her milk

dairy industry / cow-milk industry, goat-milk industry, milk industry

drum stick / chicken’s leg, turkey’s leg (etc.); bird’s leg

egg farm / hen confinement facility, hen enslavement facility, hen enslavement operation, egg factory

farm (with exploited/enslaved nonhumans), ranch / confinement facility, enslavement facility, enslavement operation, exploitation facility

farmer, producer (who enslaves nonhumans); rancher / enslaver, food-industry enslaver, nonhuman-animal exploiter

foie gras / goose liver, duck liver (etc.); bird liver

food fish / enslaved fish, captive fish, fish enslaved for food, fish reared for slaughter, fish exploited for food

giblets / chicken organs, turkey organs, (etc.); bird organs

grow (a nonhuman animal) / rear for slaughter

harvest, process, (etc., meaning kill) / slaughter

head of cattle / bovines, cows

hog, swine / pig

humane slaughter / slaughter

Lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegetarian (who eats egg or milk products but not flesh) / non-flesh-eater, speciesist

layer, laying hen / enslaved hen, captive hen, exploited hen, hen enslaved for her eggs, hen exploited for her eggs

livestock / enslaved nonhuman mammals, captive nonhuman mammals, exploited nonhuman mammals, mammals enslaved for food, mammals exploited for food

livestock market / mammal auction, mammal market

meat animal / nonhuman animal reared for slaughter

meat-packer / slaughterer, butcher, nonhuman-animal killer, flesh purveyor

milk (from cows) / cow milk

mutton / sheep flesh

poultry (in reference to living birds) / enslaved chickens, enslaved turkeys (etc.); captive chickens (etc.); exploited chickens (etc.); enslaved (etc.) birds; birds enslaved for food; birds exploited for food

spareribs / pig ribs

stockyard / mammal pens, slaughterhouse pens

sweetbread / calf thymus, lamb thymus (etc.); calf (etc.) pancreas; calf (etc.) thymus or pancreas; thymus; pancreas; thymus or pancreas

veal / calf flesh

veal calf / enslaved calf, captive calf, exploited calf, calf reared for slaughter

vegetarian (who eats the flesh of mollusks, fishes, or other non-mammals) / flesh-eater, speciesist

pet-related terms

aquarium / small tank

companion animal / nonhuman companion, nonhuman friend; pet (with reference to possibly or definitely disrespected nonhumans, as in “the pet trade”)

destroy, euthanise, put to sleep (a healthy nonhuman animal) / kill, murder

discipline, punishment, training (in reference to beatings, deprivation, or other abuse) / abuse, violence

her cat, my dog, your parakeet (etc.) / her cat companions, my dog friend, your parakeet companions (etc.)

master, mistress / human companion, human friend, adopter, guardian, provider, caregiver, owner (in legal contexts and in reference to someone who may not love or adequately care for a nonhuman they legally own)

mongrel, mutt / mixed-breed dog

be neutered / have an orchiectomy, have his testicles removed, have an uterectomy, have her ovaries and uterus removed

pedigreed, purebred / inbred

shelter (that kills healthy nonhumans) / adoption-and-killing facility

be spayed / have a uterectomy, have their ovaries and uterus removed

terrarium / glass case, small tank

pelt-industry terms

fox coat, mink coat (etc.) / fox-pelt coat, mink-pelt coat (etc.)

fox farm, mink ranch (etc.) / fox confinement facility, mink confinement facility (etc.); fox (etc.) enslavement facility; fox (etc.) killing facility

fox farmer, mink rancher (etc.) / fox enslaver, mink enslaver (etc.); fox (etc) killer; fox (etc.) exploiter

fur (meaning part of a pelt); fur collar, fur trim (etc.) / pelt portion

fur coat / pelt coat

fur farm, fur ranch / furred-animal confinement facility, furred-animal enslavement facility, furred-animal killing facility

fur farmer, fur rancher / furred-animal enslaver, furred-animal killer, furred-animal exploiter

fur industry / pelt industry

fur trapper / trapper, furred-animal killer

furbearer / furred animal, nonhuman animal targeted for their fur, nonhuman animal killed for their fur

furrier / pelt purveyor

other terms of speciesist violence and abuse

animal dealer / nonhuman-animal dealer, nonhuman-animal trafficker

animal husbandry / nonhuman enslavement, nonhuman exploitation

animal welfare, humane treatment (in reference to nonhuman exploitation) / exploitation, violence, less-violent treatment

beast of burden, pack animal, work animal / enslaved nonhuman, nonhuman slave, nonhuman forced to labour

build, create, engineer (etc., a nonhuman animal) / inbreed, genetically manipulate, genetically harm, insert genes into

bull fight / bull torture, bull murder

carcass / body, corpse, remains

carnism, carnist / speciesism, speciesist

cashmere / goat hair

circus animal / circus captive

crop n. (in reference to nonhuman animals) / new group

domestic animal, domesticated animal / enslaved nonhuman, exploited nonhuman, bred nonhuman

domestication / nonhuman enslavement, nonhuman subjugation, forced breeding, manipulated breeding

gamecock / enslaved cock, captive cock, cock forced to fight

hide n. / skin

leather / cow (etc.) skin

mohair / goat hair

nuisance animal, pest, varmint, vermin / resented nonhuman, persecuted nonhuman, targeted nonhuman

pest control / murdering nonhumans, extermination, nonhuman genocide, mass murder of nonhumans

predator control, predator removal / killing predators, murdering predators

produce v. (a nonhuman animal) / breed, breed for exploitation, breed for killing

racehorse / enslaved horse, exploited horse, horse forced to race

renewables, surplus (in reference to a nonhuman animal) / viewed as disposable

resource (in reference to a nonhuman animal) / exploited nonhuman, targeted nonhuman

stock n. (in reference to a nonhuman animal) / nonhuman captives, enslaved nonhumans

tame v. (a nonhuman animal) / subjugate, oppress

thoroughbred adj. / inbred

venison / deer flesh

voiceless / unheard, silenced, oppressed

welfarism, welfarist / speciesism, speciesist

wildlife conservation, wildlife management / regulated killing of nonhumans, restricted killing of nonhumans, manipulating nonhuman populations

wool / sheep hair

wool producer / sheep enslaver, sheep exploiter


“beat a dead horse” / “beat a broken drum”

“be the guinea pig” / “be the test tube”

“bring home the bacon” / “bring home the bagels” (this one is overly capitalist, it also perpetuates that a human working for money is the main pillar of a relationship, family or household because they supply food. Speciesist version or not.)

“coming out of your shell” / “coming out of your cage” (the shell version depicts shells as something trapping, when for most nonhuman individuals with them they are important protection, the speciesist framing is negative)

“don’t put all your eggs in one basket” / “don’t put all your berries in one bowl”

“get off your high horse” / “get off your high throne”

“hold your horses” / “hold the phone”

“kill two birds with one stone” / “cut two carrots with one knife”

“Let the cat out of the bag” / “spill the beans”

“like shooting fish in a barrel” / “like picking berries from a basket”

“more than one way to skin a cat” / “more than one way to skin potatoes”

“one trick pony” / “one trick wonder”

“open a can of worms” / “open Pandora’s box”

“quit cold turkey” / “quit full stop”

“take the bull by the thorns” / “take the flower by the thorns”

“voice for the voiceless” / “human ally” “A human doing antispeciesism work”


Rat doesn't equal disloyal. Snake doesn’t equal deceitful. Chicken doesn’t equal cowardly. Pink text on black. “Don’t use nonhuman animals’ species as insults, this perpetuates species because it promotes an inaccurate and derogatory stereotype of nonhuman animals’ lived experiences, while disregarding nonhumans’ moral worth and individuality.”

nonhuman animals’ species or terms used as insults or describing terms towards humans; cow, bitch, maggot, worm, whale, leech, snake, rat, reptile, horse, ape, weasel, monkey, mouse, dinosaur, (etc.) / asinine, bad, bizarre, bleak, boring, callous, careless, chaotic, confusing, contemptible, coward, crappy, dense, devoid of _____, disgusting, dull, enraged, evil, extremist, furious, gross, haywire, horrible, ignoramus, ignorant, impolite, inane, incomprehensible, inconsiderate, inconsistent, infuriating, insensible, insipid, irrational, jerk, lacking in _____, livid, mean, nasty, nefarious, nonsense, nonsensical, obtuse, outrageous, overwrought, paradoxical, pathetic, petulant, pissant, putrid, rage-inducing, reckless, ridiculous, rude, scornful, self-contradictory, shameful, solipsistic, spurious, terrible, tyrannical, unbelievable, unconscionable, unheard of, uninspired, unoriginal, unthinkable, unthinking, vapid, vile, vomit-inducing, wretched

For more direct insults: dipshit, asshat
asshole, fucker, half-assed, shitty
(and other non-ableist insults)


More resources

A supportive online community dedicated to Unlearning Speciesist Language

Videos by Challenge Speciesism

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We will have versions of anti-speciesist chants for marches coming soon.