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Beyond Species-ism

Matthieu Ricard: ‘In the twentieth century, at the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s, a new animal movement arose, the effects of which have continued to grow down to the present day. This movement has set the stage for a major change in the attitude toward animals in Western societies… In 1970 one of his essays introduced a new term, speciesism, which he put forward to call attention to the fact that our attitude toward animals derives from the same kind of mentality as racism or sexism… Applying our compassion only to certain beings, human beings in this case, makes it a lesser and a poorer thing… In 1975 Singer wrote a book on this subject that reached an international audience. The title of the book, Animal Liberation, became the name of the movement. Other voices arose that enriched the debate, in particular those of the principal theoretician of the animal rights movement, Tom Regan, and of primatologists Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal… More recently, we have also heard from the writer Jonathan Safran Foer, and many other writers are speaking of animal ethics, animal rights, and in general of our relationship to animals… There is no doubt a great deal left to do, but it is beyond argument that the Western world is becoming more and more aware of the fact that it cannot pretend to uphold decent and coherent moral values and at the same time exclude from the ethical field the majority of the sentient beings who populate the earth’. SOURCE…

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