World Day Against Speciesism: June 5, 2010
We ill-treat and kill hundreds of millions of animals each day. In order to justify that, we have convinced ourselves that their lives and sufferings are not worth much: "they are just animals!"However, animals are sensitive beings that also want to avoid suffering and that wish to enjoy their lives. Just like humans.Speciesism is to species what racism is to race, i.e. the will to disregard the interests of some individuals in order to give advantage to others under arbitrary excuses. A series of (existing or imaginary) differences that bear no logical link with what they are supposed to legitimize is put forward. Having a high or less high level of intelligence or belonging or not to the human species is not a rational criterion for discrimination. Speciesist discrimination is therefore indefensible.Speciesism is an irrational ideology, and society as a whole has to take position against the totally unfair practices that it generates.In pratice, speciesism is an ideology which justifies the use of animals by humans in ways that would be unacceptable if the victims were humans.
Animals are bred and slaughtered for their meat, their milk, their eggs, their skins (leather, fur), their silk; they are fished for human consumption; they are used for scientific experiments; hunted for entertainment; locked up for life in zoos and dolphinaria; trained and exploited in circuses, killed for shows (such as bullfights), etc.
Fighting against these practices and against their underlying ideology is the task of the movement against speciesism.The World Day Against Speciesism will take place on June 5, 2010, and it will be held for the third year in a row.All over the world actions are being organized in order to protest against an ideology which is as reprehensible as racism or sexism and which causes countless numbers of victims that generally undergo appalling lives and deaths.Meat consumption is the main reason for such a tragedy:58 billion land vertebrates and even more fish and crustaceans (144 million tons) are killed each year in the world for that reason, that is solely for the taste of flesh consumption.
Speciesism cannot be justified nor can the oppressions resulting from it.
Let's abolish meat and all other form of animal exploitation!
Why is it necessary to question the notion of speciesism? Because it is the underlying ideology for both the laws which deny rights to animals and the practices generated by them.Here are some examples from our experience as activists: Regarding criticism against some practices:- How can we seriously put on the same level, on the one hand, the fundamental interests of animals not to be killed and, on the other hand, the human interest to eat them, which in comparison is nothing but a whim? That is speciesism.- If it is illegitimate to use human beings for vivisection, why use animals from other species? Is it not solely because of speciesism?- If we do not wish to be locked up, amputated and killed, how can we justify our doing it to other beings that suffer from these pratices just the same? That is speciesism.- Why do we deny rights to animals? Is it solely due to the fact that they are "just" animals? That is speciesism.The notion of speciesism is also important because:- speciesism rests upon the same ideological bases as racist or sexist discriminations which use "nature" in order to justify the inferiorization of some individuals. The "nature" of animals is thought of as inferior because it is said to be "animal", "instinctive", "programmed" whereas the "nature" of humans is thought of as superior because it is said to be "free", "rational" or "spiritual". These "inferior" and "superior" "natures" are supposed to legitimize human domination over other sentient beings.
- by definition, the notion of equality cannot rest upon arbitrary criteria; otherwise it is no longer equality, but injustice and inequality. This notion must embrace all the beings that have interests to defend and therefore interests that have to be defended, that is to say: all sentient beings. There mustn't be double moral standards: one, egalitarian among humans and humans only, and the other, elitist and unfair towards others.
- the notion of the speciesist ideology highlights the existence of a structured vision of the world which leads to the inferiorization and the invisibilization of animals.
Here are some effects of this ideology among others:- animals do not generally appear as individuals, but rather they are perceived as undifferentiated specimens from their species;- a confusion is often made between the fight for the recognition of their own individual interests and the fight for the preservation of species...Here we are saying loud and clear that we care about sentient beings as individuals.- Just as racism and sexism are political notions, speciesism is a political notion which enables us to make a social analysis of the animal rights issue. It enables us to view the fight as political and to put it in a parallel with the fights for liberation that came before it, and to think of actions for the short and the long term (e.g. the demand for the abolition of meat). By comparing it with racist and sexist ideologies and social systems, we make people realize that breeding, hunting, fishing and other practices of animal exploitation and oppression are not "natural", but that they are socially instituted, historically situated, ethically reprehensible, and that they can be fought against on a political level.
By drawing attention onto speciesism, the World Day Against Speciesism gives us the opportunity to assert the fact that the oppression of animals, just like that of humans, is not a matter of personal choice. In the same way that killing or ill-treating humans is not an issue of personal freedom, but is an injustice that has to be fought against, the animal rights issue has to appear as an ethical, social and political issue which concerns everyone and which society urgently needs to accept to discuss.
published by Werner Brock
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