Antispeciesism: what is it? What definition?


Born in the 1970s, antispeciesism is a way of thinking contesting the idea that man places himself at the Mountain peak of the animal kingdom. The movement has spread widely over the decades and today anti-speciesists intend to end the discrimination towards animals through strong activism.

Definition of antispeciesism

Antispeciesism is a philosophical movement according to which thespecies to which an animal belongs should not be the basis for the way of considering or treating it. Antispeciesists believe that all animals, including humans, are of equal importance, that their sensitivity and suffering must be taken into account. This way of thinking challenges the form of discrimination which aims to place man at the top of all the species of the living world.

Antispeciesism and equal treatment

As seen above, antispeciesism challenges the notion of hierarchy between species and more particularly, the superiority of humans over animals. By going further in their approach, the antispeciesists also denounce the fact of better consider some animals (cats, dogs, horses, etc.) than others (insects, fish, snakes, farm animals: pigs, cows, chickens, etc.). This concept is opposed to that of speciesism, asserting that the species to which an animal belongs constitutes a relevant criterion to establish the interest that should be shown in it or the rights that we can grant it.

Antispeciesism in practice

In the eyes of antispeciesists, the ideology developed by speciesism justifies theexploitation and theuse animal by humans. However, for anti-species activists, animals are living beings endowed with sensitivity, unfairly discriminated against and who must be released from the yoke of man. Accordingly, they condemn all practice likely to oppress or cause pain to animals, such as:

  • THE’breeding industrial;
  • The shows animals (bullfighting, circus, aquatic show, etc.) and zoos;
  • The hunt ;
  • The research experimental on animals;
  • Consumption of meat and any product of animal origin, including their derivatives.

Antispeciesism: the origins of the current

In the aftermath of World War II, in a context demanding the need to rebuild the economy, industrialized breeding is implemented by using the animal as a machine in the service of man. Meat consumption is intensifying and the search for productivity generates many effects on the environment: deforestation, exponential expansion of farms, pollution of soils, degradation of natural habitats and biodiversity … ethics which calls into question this evolution at all costs. Philosophical debates emerge through numerous scientific books and articles and, in the 1970s, the antispeciesist movement was born under the impetus of philosophers. Anglo-Saxon.

The fathers of anti-speciesism

The term antispeciesism, antinomic to that of speciesism, is a neologism coined in 1970 by Richard ryder. Member of a group of intellectuals at the University of Oxford, the British psychologist was interested in the moral status of animals and the treatment they underwent through, in particular, theexperimentation animal and factory farming. Five years later, the Australian philosopher Peter Singer published a book called La Liberation Animale, which clearly contributed to popularizing the question of the animal condition. Often considered one of the fathers founders of the modern animalist movement, Peter Singer denounces speciesism by drawing a parallel with the discriminationhuman-to-human issues such as racism and sexism.

Antispeciesism today

Whether through PETA (For Ethics in the Treatment of Animals) or others associations (L214, 269 Animal liberation or 269 Life France…), defenders of the animal cause strive to alert public opinion by different methods. Widely spread, antispeciesism is now involved in the sphere of Politics – with the appearance of animal parties – and also leads its fight with the dissemination on the internet of videos rounds in slaughterhouses and various actions punches : blocking of slaughter lines, degradation of butchers, fishmongers, furriers or fast food establishments. In the 80s and 90s, the movement was already asserting itself vigorously by leading, for example, operations of sabotage of hunting parties. Antispeciesism is particularly active in Swiss and in other European countries. In France, the current is relayed by media personalities like Aymeric Caron.

Differences between antispeciesism and veganism

People practicing veganism refuse to use the products of animal exploitation in all its forms. Thus, they do not consume eggs, milk, meat, capsules and other treats made from animal gelatin. Other examples: vegans do not wear clothes made of leather, wool, fur, do not use cosmetics or household products tested on animals. The fight of the antispeciesists is more in line with theactivism, even if it means braving the laws. The Vegan Federation does not encourage these methods and officially suggests to any follower of veganism not to promote antispeciesism, preferring to favor theeducation, to direct action.