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Is Speciesism a Legitimate Moral Concern?

Brother_AJ
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1/13/2016 4:36:27 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Speciesism definition - https://en.wikipedia.org...

Speciesism involves assigning different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership. The term was coined by British psychologist Richard D. Ryder in 1973:

"I use the word 'speciesism'," he explained two years later, "to describe the widespread discrimination that is practiced by man against other species. Speciesism and racism both overlook or underestimate the similarities between the discriminator and those discriminated against."

It is irrational and morally unacceptable to regard other animals (which have been acknowledged as sentient or conscious* beings) as mere objects or property. Humans tend to think and behave otherwise because we have been raised in a world where human supremacy and/or anthropocentrism are the normal and "good" positions to follow. The latter of which is the belief that humans must be considered at the center of, and above any other aspect of, reality.

All animals ought to have rights and we should not assign them a lesser value because of a perceived lack of rationality, while assigning a higher value to infants, young children, and the cognitively impaired solely on the grounds of them being members of the allegedly superior human species. Be it the hunting, consumption, experimentation, or forced labor of other animals, speciesism is a very large and unspoken of blight within our so called "civilized" society. It needs to be an issue we are talking about every single day.

It's worth noting that challenging "speciesism" doesn't necessarily mean one believes all species are of equal moral worth, but only that it would be irrational and unjust to deny the worth of another based solely on their species membership. There could easily be other reasons to value certain organisms less than humans and other animals such as not possessing a capacity to feel pain and pleasure.

*Scientists Conclude Nonhuman Animals Are Conscious Beings - https://www.psychologytoday.com...

Please see the video below for a brief summary of the issues surrounding this topic:

https://www.youtube.com...
Casten
Posts: 391
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1/19/2016 9:10:25 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Until we meet another intelligent species, I just don't think speciesism is going to hit us like racism or sexism or any other kind of human-on-human discrimination.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,306
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1/19/2016 1:18:32 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Animals cannot directly benefit from rights if they are not aware of rights. They can only react to the environment.

For example, let's say manatees have a right to swim propeller free only in Florida. If the manatee does not know of this right, how will it know how to choose to exercise that right? How will it even know where Florida is on the map?

If the manatee simply reacts to the environment and naturally instinctively thrives without the burden of choice in a propeller free environment, then a simple ban on boat propellers achieves exactly the same goal as establishing "propeller rights" for manatees.