“All sentient beings should have at least one right—the right not to be treated as property.”
– Gary L. Francione, Prof. of Law at Rutgers University
The Speciesism versus Anti-speciesism debate is constantly stirring up arguments and political battles as human cultural practices come into question regarding its legitimacy and ethics. Speciesism is a term that favors one’s own species over all others; and in the case of human beings, an anthropocentric perspective has been justified for a long time. We hope to bring this argument to light and explain why popular perspectives are changing.
The topic of speciesism is controversial because it criticizes central aspects of modern social structures. Beliefs that have been in existence since humans began to dominate the Earth through technological advancement have generally been steadfast. In Peter Singer’s article All Animals are Equal he states, “Animals are treated like machines that convert fodder into flesh, and any innovation that results in higher “conversion ratio” is liable to be adopted.” Humans interact with other species all the time, but understand themselves to be separate. This is an idea that Charles Darwin knew as “the Great Split,” where the human environment is separate from nature and what we know as the “wild.” This has been viewed as a problem with human culture because of the way we express our domination over other species and nature itself. The growth of the environmentalist and animal rights movements have impacted the way we see ourselves in relation to other species. They allow us to critique our cultural habits and the morals we embed into our lives. In Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac he calls this effort an extension of the human community to include nonhumans. In the end, these new ways of approaching nature are beginning to deplete the ideology of speciesism.
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