Making Anti-Speciesism itself a subject
We rightly want to ask people to do more than donate money to animal advocacy groups. We rather hope that people make others aware of veganism – in ethical terms. So only or mainly talking about vegan health and cooking (for instance) isn’t doing the job (far less is promoting vegan consumerism).
In which way to thematize speciesism?
1. By comparison …
A lot of the drawings of analogies are taken in reference to racism and sexism. In the discussions though the weight tends to lay more on the specifics of racist and sexist psychology, in those analogies, than on the juxtaposed speciesist type of psychological mindsets.
2. With cases …
On the other hand activists who discuss actual on the spot atrocities that are taking place and which mark those faces of speciesism, they do show the sheer extremes of killing, and those extremes again can’t be directly compared with other forms of discrimination. (At least we are confronted here with the fact that every category of an atrocity has own contextualities.)
How do you thematize speciesism?
In the frame of human anthropology? Or by comparing biological observations and findings on nonhuman / humans … ? Sociologically?
My first suggestion is – cos I really do see that too little we describe how speciesism psychologically works in practice, is: let us have a look at the HOW’S of how speciesism manifests in basically many varying forms.
This is a highly fragmentary list for going into that direction:
Many forms of speciesism
Objectifying nonhuman animals takes various forms:
– in legal terms nonhumans are classified as property
– in religious terms the separation is being made spiritually, man is preferred and given the right to dominate all that is on earth
– philosophical schools may give an array of different reasons for why whichever form of speciesism might be ethically sound or a right view to maintain
– the natural sciences differentiate between beings driven by instinct, the lower forms of life, the higher forms and man with the supposedly most complex make up of mind and brain.
– carnism could be said to be a term for one form of speciesism that classifies domesticated farm animals only (or finally, as in the case of horses and some exotic animals that are eaten such as ostriches) as “meat” or suppliers of food.
– pets on the other side are. in spite of being loved by our society, also affected by speciesist views on them.
– wild animals are forced to make up the object for hunters and hunting culture’s needs to re-exercise continuously the idea of a primeval and supposedly ideal condition of man as the hunter and gatherer.
– but also wild animals are affected by argumentations that target them in terms of whether they are intrusive species or should be seen as protectable.
For every animal species we seem to get one or more forms of speciesist views, classifications, argumentations. In every aspect that defines the human view on his or her environment we seem to come across a derogative stance on nonhumans.
When we discuss speciesism we should bear in mind how complex and difficult to analyze the subjugative view on animal life is in our cultures and societies.
I think taking a direct look at the cloaked psychology behind speciesism (itself), we can get closer to the framework that enables a speciesist society in the first place.
With ‘cloaked psychology’ I don’t mean a model such as it was discussed with the ‘carnism’-term, which focussed on two forms of speciesism basically: pets that are loved, yet have no rights, and so called farm animals that are being killed for “food”, and have of course also no rights.
With ‘cloaked psychology’ I mean questions of why as a fact human traits are valued over nonhuman animal traits, or the same goes for ‘interests’, features, attributes, realities, etc.
By breaking down the probably manifold components of the speciesist framework, we can find our way through a mess of a collective-psychological character, I think.