Is speciesism at the root of the human-to-animal problem; the abuse and cruelty? And, from my perspective, there is a problem with our relationship with animals. Not all of it is bad that’s obvious because there are hundreds of millions of great people who are compassionate towards animals and who don’t suffer from the affliction of speciesism!
Speciesism—like sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination—is an oppressive belief system in which those with power draw boundaries to justify using or excluding their fellow beings who are less powerful. – PETA
Personally, I’ve always treated animals as equal to me. I’m not being boastful but factual. Is that because I’m not arrogant. I feel that arrogance is at the root of speciesism. The inflated egos of humans who believe that we are superior to everything else around us. Prince Andrew is the iconically arrogant human.
If you see animals as equals you respect them and if you respect them, you will never abuse them. He will never use them and exploit them. Which drives me towards the stance of PETA who have a campaign about speciesism. They have a really nice video which you can see below on the topic.
The concept of speciesism goes to the root, as mentioned, of our relationship with both wild and domestic animals. I recently wrote an article about the way humans can transform the domestic cat into a living toy. They do this by modifying the animal as if they were customising an inanimate object like a car.
This customisation takes several forms. It might be declawing as happens to millions of cats in America. A terribly cruel operation and unnecessary. It might happen with dogs when their tails are docked or their ears are cropped. Distinct versions of customisation.
It’s more widespread than that. The desexing of cats is a form of customisation. Neutering a male cat is seen as a very minor operation but it has a major impact upon the cat. We don’t cut the balls off men but we cut the balls off male cats as if it is a nothing operation. That’s speciesism.
I know we have to sterilise domestic cats to limit their procreation but this process does create an ‘us and them’ attitude. We don’t actually have to sterilise domestic cats by the neutering and spaying operations. We could use the vasectomy procedure for male cats and the tubal ligation procedure for females. This means they both keep their natural sex behaviours but they can’t procreate.
But humans don’t want domestic cats to keep their sexual behaviours because they are troublesome. Another example of speciesism.
There are hundreds of millions of examples of speciesism as practised by humankind. For example, it condemns all livestock to a lifetime of suffering. It treats pigs as objects. There are some horrendous pictures of pigs being abused on the Internet. You can barely look at them. Pigs are smart animals. They are sentient creatures. But the person abusing the pig doesn’t realise this and they are exercising the practice of speciesism.
Here’s one example from California. California doesn’t allow fur to be sold but they do allow wool to be sold. Sheep can be pets. They feel pain and joy and love just like people. Do we have to take their coat?
An extreme example of speciesism comes from China where they tend to have an attitude that animals need to be useful. If they can’t be useful, they should be eaten. That appears to be the attitude in China. And in the south of China, they have cat meat markets where they beat cats to death and then eat their flesh for spurious medicinal reasons based on superstition. These are sometimes domestic cats or they might be semi-feral. The ultimate example of speciesism. A barbaric and cruel example. But people argue in defence that we kill cows and eat them. And chickens. What’s the difference?
Well, there is a difference because livestock should be slaughtered in a regulated way whereas the cat meat markets of southern China are unregulated lading to gross examples of cruelty. But yes, there is a strong argument that we shouldn’t eat meat any more. We don’t have to.
The way we treat cows can be horrendous. Taking their calves from them when they’re very young so that the calf does not take the mother’s milk which goes to people. This is cruel. Mothers defend their calves with great passion. They will attack people who try to take their calves from them. There is a bond between mother and calf and this is ignored by farmers. Or if not ignored it is completely overridden because of this attitude of speciesism.
Speciesism can be hidden almost. For example, some people don’t like to wear leather or fur coats because these were the skins of animals. But they wear leather shoes without thinking about it. It is such a deep-rooted attitude that sometimes we don’t know that we have speciesism deeply embedded in our psyche. I have leather shoes and now I don’t like it. I have educated myself. I have changed.
Everyone needs to learn about speciesism and ask tough questions about their attitude towards animals.