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The term is often used by
An example of a speciesist belief would be the following: Suppose that both a
It is possible to give more consideration to members of one species than to members of another species without being speciesist. For example, consider the belief that a typical human has an interest in voting but that a typical
There are a few common speciesist paradigms.
The term speciesism, and the argument that it is simply a prejudice, first appeared in 1970 in a privately printed pamphlet written by British psychologist
Ryder argued in the pamphlet that "[s]ince Darwin, scientists have agreed that there is no 'magical' essential difference between humans and other animals, biologically-speaking. Why then do we make an almost total distinction morally? If all organisms are on one physical continuum, then we should also be on the same moral continuum." He wrote that, at that time in the UK, 5,000,000 animals were being used each year in experiments, and that attempting to gain benefits for our own species through the mistreatment of others was "just 'speciesism' and as such it is a selfish emotional argument rather than a reasoned one". Ryder used the term again in an essay, "Experiments on Animals", in
In as much as both "race" and "species" are vague terms used in the classification of living creatures according, largely, to physical appearance, an analogy can be made between them. Discrimination on grounds of race, although most universally condoned two centuries ago, is now widely condemned. Similarly, it may come to pass that enlightened minds may one day abhor "speciesism" as much as they now detest "racism." The illogicality in both forms of prejudice is of an identical sort. If it is accepted as morally wrong to deliberately inflict suffering upon innocent human creatures, then it is only logical to also regard it as wrong to inflict suffering on innocent individuals of other species. ... The time has come to act upon this logic.
Those who claim that speciesism is unfair to individuals of nonhuman species have often argued their case by invoking mammals and chickens in the context of research or farming. However, there is not yet a clear definition or line agreed upon by a significant segment of the movement as to which species are to be treated equally with humans or in some ways additionally protected: mammals, birds, reptiles, arthropods, insects, bacteria, etc.
The term was popularized by the Australian philosopher
Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.
Singer argued from a
More recently, animal rights groups such as