When human beings are not treated equally under Australian laws, our legal system has established laws to ensure equality and to punish discriminatory conduct. However, this is not the case for animals. When cruelty is committed against an animal, generally a person will not be charged or if charged is let off with a small fine. This inequality is equated with the concept of speciesism. At ‘Til The Cows Come Home we believe that there should be laws in place to allow equality for animals. This blog discusses the concept of speciesism and how it is up to all of us to break the cycle of inequality and treatment for animals by viewing all animals as equal.
Speciesism is “the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals”. Peter Singer has described the concept as having prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species (humans) and against those of members of other species (animals). The concept can be akin to racism or sexism. Why should animals be treated less than human beings? Why can it be justified to allow the current treatment of animals, such as killing an animal for its fur? Animals are not here for us to exploit, use or abuse, animals are here with us to love equally like you love your parents, partner, children or friends. Animals are not here for us; they are here with us.
Further, there is a subcategory of speciesism in which human beings view some animals differently to others. For example, some individuals may view and treat dogs and cats in a completely different way than they view and treat chickens, cows and pigs. However, when you stop and think about this, it’s shocking. Pigs are known to be just as intelligent as dogs, or even more so. Yet society has conditioned us to see a pig as food and a dog as your family member. We see in Australia each year the uproar and outcry when China holds its annual Yulin Dog Festival. But how is this any different to the millions of animals that are slaughtered for human consumption each year. Why is it wrong for some animals to be killed and justified for others? We at TTCCH want to break down the notion of speciesism and want to live in a world where all animals are treated equally and shown love, kindness and compassion.
The phrase knowledge is power is so important. We are conditioned in society to view speciesism as normal cognitive behaviour, which is supported by the unequal laws Australia has for animals compared to Humans or even domestic animals. Be kind to every kind, whether human or animal. Taking a stand with love, kindness and compassion starts with you, “be the change you want to see in the world.”
By Luella Botteon