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SPECIESISM

Speciesism is an ideology or a set of beliefs that makes discrimination against the members of other species seem normal and natural. For the speciest, the lives and experiences of nonhuman animals are usually considered less important than those of human beings simply because they are not like humans. It’s so embedded in our culture and in our thinking that it seems natural and inevitable to discriminate against other animals. But when we really try to justify it, we can’t. The value of nonhuman animals does not depend on how similar they are to humans. Nonhuman animals have emotional lives and feel pain, pleasure, fear and joy. Devaluing their lives simply because they don’t have some characteristics that most humans have is discrimination. Every characteristic and circumstance that is used to discriminate against nonhuman animals — such as lack of rationality, language ability, social connections — also applies to some humans. Yet we don’t use those things to measure the worth of humans. The reason we try not to harm other humans is because they can feel and suffer.

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