6.01.2009

A View on Specism

I promise, it's not as long as it looks!


Since the beginning of time, we have practiced the universal act of prejudice; jealousy and ignorance fueling hate against a different race, religion, individual, social group, age, gender, wealth (or lack of) and a countless amount of other reasons which make every single one of us unique.


No one is exempt from feeling the shame that follows being judged for who you are. Black, white, young, old, male, female, Christian, Muslim, skinny, overweight, smart, dumb, Republican, Democrat…and I could go on, but why?


Why, if we all know the hurt, do we continue the cycle? Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve been so focused on stopping the hate in our own species that we forget about who we’re affecting outside the human race. Maybe it’s because they don’t have a voice to speak out with. Maybe we just don’t care…but, can you truly tell yourself you are not prejudiced while feeling superior to an animal,

Just because you can?


The simple desire to live happily and peacefully alone should be enough reason to see every creature equally. Of course, very few will view it in this perspective, but the issue remains. Both humans and animals alike share the desire to live happily and harmoniously. The austere difference is that matured humans have the reason to make their lives so. Animals do not share this trait – but neither do newborn children. Yet, we are tender and loving to newborns, understanding of their helplessness, and not to animals who, similarly, rely on us to make their lives happier and more peaceful. So why is a newborn babe any different than a newborn pup? Besides species, they are not. They desire life and they desire the joys of living it.


Whether they get the opportunity to enjoy their special lifetime generally lies in our hands. Many of their experiences, good or bad, we give to them. Who would want to give up that control? As a society, we are a very controlling group of creatures. We thrive with power and wherever we can get it, we will take it. We love to feel superior – rather, the illusion of superiority. Whether we get the thrill from parenting or racism or even leading a country – everyone has the option of feeling that power over an animal, and everyone can take advantage of that power, but without the guilt, without consequence, because we all have been conditioned to believe that it is okay. Century upon century, animals have been used as tools to give humans the sense of power that they lack in other areas.

Is that not wrong?


A long time ago, it was acceptable to define our basic needs as “instinct,” which it plainly is. They instinct to eat, the instinct to drink, the instinct to sleep, the instinct to have sex, the instinct to survive and so on. Recently, due to psychological advances, we have been defining those needs as “drives.” The drive to eat, the drive to drink, the drive to sleep, the drive to have sex, the drive to survive, etcetera. This does not at all change the fact that they are still, in fact, instincts.


We, not unlike animals, share the same basic instincts – must share these instincts – in order to survive. The very things we speak of here, “survival of the fittest,” “King of the jungle,” are simply barbaric survival tactics.

It doesn’t have to be this way.


To make a point now that can only make this speech more controversial, let’s talk religion.

If you believe in God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh – whatever you wish to call Him – I would like to make a litigious point, and ask you keep an open mind.


God created all creatures, human and animal, Himself. How can you say that one of his creations – or a certain type of his creations – is any lesser than another? He is God; everything he creates is special and extraordinary. He does not make mistakes, and he certainly would not create one soul-bearing creature to serve or be lesser than another soul-bearing creature in any way.


I also realize that many Christians do not believe animals to have souls – yet, in Ecclesiastes 3:18-20, the Bible states:

"I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts."

"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again."


And the Quran also states in verse 6:38:

"There is not an animal on Earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to God in the end."


Also mentioned in Hadith,

“Animals do pray to God as other creations do. Believers shall go to Heaven.”


You may have been unaware that before the Great Flood, eating animals was literally unheard of. God had placed everything humans needed to eat in plant-form. It was only after the Flood, when much of the environment was damaged, that people began to consume meat – and after tens of thousands of years, the plant-life has been restored, and it is not longer necessary, but still we do it out of habit and out of instinct.


If you are a believer in Darwinism, otherwise known as evolution, then think of this – we, at one point, were ourselves knuckle-walking apes. Were we then less special or important than we are now? Only by evolution and us standing upright do we become greater than every other creature? Were we at one time equal to other animals and, if so, why not now? If you were to get promoted at work, do you suddenly become better than all the people who you worked among just the previous day? Some people, I know, will say yes – but no matter what, you are still the same person, still the same as everyone else, you just have a shinier nameplate.


Maybe you feel as if animals are not the same as we are because they are not as intelligent or are purely instinctual. They haven’t contributed anything to the world, and they can’t.


A dog has the same amount of intelligence as a three-year old child. Dolphins have a developed language – as do almost all animals. Chickens are extremely social, and they even play organized sports with each other, similar to soccer. Penguins have and recognize life partners. Chimpanzees have been sent into space after years of study, learning the same routines as their human counterparts for research. Apes have used reason and logic to identify patterns and solve complex problems. There have been endless stories of animals – wild and domesticated – saving the lives of humans.


The list goes on and on. So many things we ignore…because they choose to. To continue ignoring the issue - Specism - could be devastating. For thousands of years, we have treated animals as inferior, as less than who they are - no one speaking for them, just pushing the issue into the shadows. Still, many of them remain loyal and forgiving, just a couple of the many honorable attributes that we “superior” humans lack.


The time has come to step up and speak out for the millions of the abused, tortured, murdered and oppressed creatures that can not step up and speak out themselves.


Hardly one-hundred years ago, scientists tested on blacks, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally and physically challenged…The Jewish and Asian were forced into concentration camps. Blacks were owned as slaves.

Maybe one-hundred years from today, someone will be saying the same horrid things about these oppressed creatures, and maybe we will be shocked to hear it.


It is time to give up the power – end the corruption.


You can never expect to achieve true peace if you continue to support the harm and discrimination against animals.


Please, use your freedoms to promote theirs.



I am Lion; Hear me roar.

1 comment:

  1. I've never been, for lack of better terms, an animal hater. But this post tilts my perspective towards being a full blown animal lover.
    I guess a lot of the times as humans we shun away what we don't relate to or understand.
    That's kind of what we do with animals, we don't think we have a direct relation to them but we do.
    The point that you made about newborn babies is very strong. ily Alysia.

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