05/11/2014

Challenging speciesism


Things to do to effectively challenge speciesism:

Don’t advocate vegetarianism as a stepping stone to veganism. As well as this encouraging the notion that veganism is a diet by connecting it with vegetarianism, it also ignores the primary importance of an antispeciesist philosophy in being vegan. If people struggle with the dietary element, it’s best to encourage gradual replacements of animal products. Not just saying to cut out one, since that also indicates a hierarchy of which products are most harmful.

Although it can be important to fight for specific issues, don’t do it at the expense of other species. It seems common for people to fight for one species’ rights by claiming they have more capacity for emotions, more intelligence etc. Obviously this indicates that these things are relevant to determining whether or not a non-human animals deserves freedom, and so that harms other species who are also treat similarly.

Make sure you make it clear that all exploitation is wrong, when tackling single issues. It can be easy to focus on all the reasons a specific form of exploitation should not be happening, but it’s important to address it in a manner that makes it clear that this issue is not an exception among exploitative contexts. All are wrong.

Don’t talk about health, unless to reassure someone plant based diets can be as healthy as others. Veganism isn’t about becoming healthy on a plant based diet, so that shouldn’t be a part of your advocating for non-human animals.

Don’t make veganism about the environment. Veganism is an anti-speciesist stance, you can be speciesist and an environmentalist. There are definitely ways in which veganism and environmental issues interact, but they are separate.

Don’t make the most important aspect of veganism be the acts one performs. Focusing on which specific products or industries one abstains from or boycotts undermines the significance of the anti-speciesist philosophy. If someone is fundamentally anti-speciesist then it goes without saying that they would do what they can to avoid inherently speciesist products and industries. If such a person can’t do so to your standards it would hardly be fair to deem them not a part of the movement. On the other hand, someone can abstain from or boycott these things without necessarily being anti-speciesist.

When someone says they can’t go vegan, make it clear that veganism is a philosophy that you either support or don’t. Encourage them to adopt that philosophy and avoid exploiting non-human animals where they can. There’s no way a person “can’t” be against speciesism.

Avoid calling things cruelty free. While we’re able to avoid inherent cruelty, in such a society as we are in nothing is cruelty free unless home grown or wild. This gives the impression that the lifestyle aspect of veganism is all you need to not cause any harm to anyone, which is not the case.

Be respectful when discussing commonalities between forms of oppression. Make sure you don’t ignore the problems that are facing marginalised humans. We are making a stand against oppression, which means opposing all oppression, human and nonhuman alike.

Don’t talk about specific practices that are used against non-human animals unless necessary. Using specific practices as the central point of your argument indicates that it is the those practices that are the problem. Not the exploitation itself, nor the speciesism. It’s easy, then, for someone to come back with a hypothetically better scenario where that practice doesn’t occur. It needs to be clear that it’s wrong either way.


Artigo integral de Anti-Speciesism.
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