Speciesist Language and promoting discrimination in the minds of others

On LiveVegan today I commented about speciesist language and on being mindful of not accidentally promoting speciesism in other’s minds.
Here is a the link to the discussion that followed if you wish to view it

It’s good to try and be mindful of our language. When we refer to other animals, it’s important not to refer to them as “it” or “creature”. It’s also good to use the word “who” in a sentence. e.g the pig who did this etc. Speciesist language —- just like racist, sexist, homophobic, cissexist language — promotes “otherization” of groups. It ultimately promotes violence.

I personally try to avoid talking about other animals with non-vegans (or avoid talking about them in general) in terms of how other animals make me feel. I may speak about the cats who share my life privately with abolitionist vegans, and I may talk with abolitionist vegans about certain animals who visit our yard and how delighted I am that they visit, but I try to avoid talking about feelings regarding animals to the non-vegan public because it often just reinforces their speciesism. I might address in a calm and hopefully skilful way a speciesist comment they make and try and help them to think about their comments differently if at all possible. And I will try and bring veganism into the conversation if possible.

But my point is, that whatever I may or may not feel about certain species of NH animals is my own issue and has little to do with that individual species. For example I think snakes are very interesting individuals. We live in a rural area where a particular snake who is very deadly to humans lives. A bite from this particular snake and in 30 minutes to an hour after a bite and it’s all over. I have come across a couple of Tiger snakes on the quiet road where I walk each day, and I have mixed reactions. I have a feeling of fear for my life and I also have feelings of love, fascination and care for them. Of course they are more fearful of me than I am of them. I once privately talked with an abolitionist vegan about my experience where I almost accidentally stepped on a Tiger snake at night who was resting on side of the road where I was walking. I could have been bitten had I not noticed the snake. I would not mention this incident in front of a non-vegan because it is likely to arouse feelings of speciesism. They may react with anger or fear and they may respond by speaking hatefully about that particular animal. They may also want to kill that particular animal if they encounter them in the future. So I do my best to never speak in such a way which could promote feelings of either fetishization, or dislike or favouritism of particular species. The public are speciesist enough and we don’t need to reinforce it. 🙂

Of course the most important way to address our own speciesism is to stop eating, wearing and using other animals and educate others to go vegan as well.


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