Speciesism. I have come to understand this term very well in the last year or so. Have you ever heard of it? It is really pretty simple: it’s prejudice or discrimination based on species. And it is everywhere in this world just like other -isms you know. It just took me 50 some years to figure it out.
I have always loved animals. As a kid I remember seeing a picture of a raccoon caught in a trap who died as it struggled to free itself. This picture is still seared in my mind. The fact that it wasn’t a dog or a cat didn’t matter. It was an animal who suffered at the hands of a human and it made me both sad and angry. How could someone do that? So, I have always had a compassion for animals of all kinds. I bet you do too!
As a kid, we always had at least one dog, so I grew up loving dogs. I still do. I can’t imagine not having a dog in my home. And everyone knows that dogs are cute and adorable and that many people like dogs and would prefer that they aren’t harmed in any way. If I could adopt every dog that needed a good home I would, but I can only do so much. When I hear about people being cruel to dogs either through direct abuse or neglect, I get very angry. I truly do not understand how someone can harm a dog. Cats either. I am not a cat person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want all cats to have a good quality of life.
When it comes to cows, chickens, and pigs, though, we don’t look at them the same as our pets. They are seen as food, meat, protein…whatever you want to call it. We feel that cats and dogs should be cared for and loved because they are cute and cuddly. While cows aren’t seen as cuddly they still deserve a life without abuse or neglect. They feel pain. They cry out when they are hurt. The wail when their babies are taken from them. This is speciesism.
I hear that pigs are smarter than dogs, but intelligence doesn’t matter when your body can be turned into bacon, right? Pigs are pretty cute. I mean, have you REALLY looked at one? What’s not cute about this? Favoring dogs over pigs because bacon and sausage taste good. This is speciesism.
The Australian wildfires got me thinking about this issue. I saw post after post about all the millions of animals that died and people were very upset. So was I! However, do you have any idea how many BILLIONS of animals are cruelly slaughtered every year to supply the market with meat? Why aren’t people up in arms about that? Oh yea, I forgot. Koalas and kangaroos are much cuter than pigs, chickens, and cows. And, oh, the delicious taste of their dead flesh. This is speciesism.
Another thing that makes me angry is when people post on Facebook hoping to make people aware of cruelty to dogs or cats. They send very sad images showing an animal in pain or one that has been neglected. They claim to want to save the animals so they share posts to help. Then in another post they show their last meal which contains either a cow, chicken, or pig on the plate. Do they not see the hypocritical nature of these two posts? I can’t listen to someone tell me to save the animals and then see them “celebrating” the killing and eating of one because their meal was so delicious. There is a disconnect there. Why must animals be put into different categories? They all feel pain. They all want to care for their young. They all want to live a full and happy life. Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, seafood, all animals — they all should warrant our protection as much as our pets. But we don’t because we like the taste of meat. This is speciesism.
I wish I could wave a magic wand that would help people see that we need to protect ALL animals, not just cute and cuddly ones. As humans we can be great stewards of the land and help these animals live a wonderful existence on this Earth. The first way to do that is look at your dinner plate. If you are eating animals you have caused pain and suffering. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it is the truth. Think before you eat. The animals beg you!
Like racism, speciesism is a part of our world — a very negative part. If you are against racism, you should be against speciesism because they are one in the same, in my opinion. My one request to you is to think about this: if you call yourself an animal lover, does your behavior and eating habits match that? If it doesn’t what are you going to do about it?
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