On Speciesism: A Personal Response

The opinion that we, as human beings, should consider ourselves superior to other living beings has always appalled me. In addition to being a notion that gives us a false sense of authority over other species, it makes us believe in an exceptionalism that lacks consideration of the effect our actions have on the planet.

To some extent I understand the reasons why this anthropocentrism is sustained. Especially when considering that our biological instincts seem to favour being selfish in order to ensure the survival and spread of our species. But I wouldn’t say I subscribe to such excuses, because – with all due respect – I think it’s retrogressive to assume that we, entities capable of exercising the use of reason, cannot modify the attitudes to which we adapt after birth. In fact, it is precisely our ability to process and mentally judge things that makes us obligated to keep our reason when dealing with other species.

Yes, I know there are arguments against this alleged “duty”, but wouldn’t we want to receive the same level of respect from another species if we were the ones lacking the necessary reasoning? We must remember that us humans, like all other living beings, did not choose to evolve in the way we did. This was the product of a complex biological process over which we did not exercise some kind of control. And while we could take a position of “I did not choose to be human,” neither did the dog choose to be a dog or the horse to be a horse. Thus, making this argument pointless.

So why not let go of such thoughts and instead think about ways in which we can we help life? An issue that is not just an ethical or moral topic, for we all have the right to live in the best possible way, regardless of species. But rarely do we contemplate these things, because – once again – our “human supremacy” gets in the way. Just look at the manner in which cows and pigs are taken to the slaughterhouse. You’ll notice how easy it is for us to ignore the fact that these are entities that feel pain and pleasure just like we do. Ah, but since they can’t express it in words, it’s not the same thing, right? And why should we care about their wails and groans of anguish? After a few minutes all that fuss is over anyways.

And yes, I know that many will say that “nature” is like that. That in the animal kingdom there are predators and prey and that it is not our fault to follow “the natural order of things” so that we can feed ourselves. But is it really necessary to keep such practices despite having the ability to improve these conditions and, even better yet, eradicate them? This question cannot be answered by all other species, since they lack the technological means we enjoy (not to mention the fact that their minds act on instinctive impulses). But it is a question that is worth asking ourselves since we are in the right position and disposition to have this discussion.

After all, humans are not supreme entities. Instead, we are the beings who, given the skills we have, need to watch over the rest of Earth’s species.

Why not improve then? Too difficult? Perhaps. Particularly since even we, as members of the same species, treat each other in the worst ways possible. It seems extremely hard for humans to fix our eyes away from an “us” that only involves “me and my immediate circle of people”.

Said loyalty has its importance; I will not deny that. But there is a point where this turns into contempt and from contempt to hate there isn’t a long way. But we don’t need to get to such extremes. Not anymore. We should let those walls that separate us from each other fall and understand that all beings on Earth, regardless of biological variation, are life. Life that until now has only been found on this planet and, because of that, it has to be cared for, protected, respected and loved.

So today I invite you to reflect a little on the importance of these things. Now, more than ever, because we need thinking minds and open hearts to generate the necessary changes. Not only for us, but for all who inhabit this beautiful planet of ours.

Thanks for the read. (:


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