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.