What is Speciesism?

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Speciesism currently has many definitions but here is a few versions to help better encapsulate it:

Speciesism is a belief of human superiority leading to the systemic oppression, exploitation and discrimination of nonhuman animals

Joan Dunayer, author and editor defines speciesism as:

A failure in attitude or practice, to accord any nonhuman being equal consideration and respect

Another definition could be:

Speciesism is institutional discrimination and, to a lesser extent, individual prejudice against nonhuman animals based on their species

And by Species Revolution:

Speciesism is a set of irrational beliefs and prejudices in various forms and degrees, which reproduce political and social structures that yield power and privilege to human animals over other species of animals

“nonhumans have a right to bodily autonomy” in black text with our shark ASA logo beneath on a pink background

Speciesism is a system of oppression where human-animals have placed themselves above other species, to the point where members of other species are excluded from moral consideration. For a speciesist, other animals are devoid of their intrinsic value and only have value for what they can be exploited for: food, clothing, as pets, reselling value, forced labour, entertainment, a role in the ecosystem, vivisection, etc…

However, this bias is purely arbitrary. Homo sapiens are no more unique than any other species is unique, and our differences to other animals are superficial at best. Just like us, other animals, be they dogs, nonhuman primates, chickens, rats, beetles, snakes, anchovies, crabs, wasps, or any other animal, have individual lives and interests to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and continue existing. They are aware of the world and of themselves, they can create meaningful relationships, and their lives matter to them. There is no justification for the violence that humans inflict on other animals. 

Therefore, anti-speciesism seeks to dismantle the systems of speciesism in whatever form, and create a world that recognises and respects the interests and moral rights of other animals.

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A first step is for individual humans to refuse to directly participate in the oppression of nonhuman animals (speciesism) by immediately stopping direct exploitation of other animals (captivity, breeding, labour, slaughter, violence, abuse, disrespect, etc…) and eliminating anything that supports nonhuman animal exploitation (food, clothing, entertainment, cosmetics, etc.) as far as is possible and practicable, in their daily lives.

This is non-participation - as practicably possible - in violence, this is non-speciesism otherwise known as becoming vegan, and veganism is the moral imperative. Click here to learn how to become vegan and start to reject speciesism.