15-04-2016

Anti-speciesism: Humanizing Animals or Dehumanizing Man?


During the past few years, our world in Occident has seen the emergence of a new phenomenon: “anti-speciesism” which aims to put animals on an equal level with man.

Dating from the 1970’s anti-speciesism is in opposition to the speciesism which places man above all species. For Aymeric Caron, author of the book « Antispéciste » which was recently published, speciesism, so-called by analogy with racism and sexism, “refers to all attitudes of discrimination towards an animal due to belonging to a given species”. Therefore, in this theory resembling the Hindu culture, humanity would only have a difference of degree, and not of nature, with animals.

Could it be that man’s paradoxical attitude towards animals has contributed to the development of this phenomenon?

On the one hand we observe a particular disrespect for livestock animals, considering them as simple objects, consumable commodities, which must be as profitable as possible. Thus, certain hens in incubators never see daylight, and must lay more than 300 eggs per year! Furthermore, recent scandals in certain French slaughterhouses demonstrating serious mistreatment of animals, have also contributed to propagate this ideology

On the other hand, household pets are sometimes « humanized » to the extreme: there are cemeteries for animals, hairdressers, hotels and psychologists for dogs, just to give a few examples…

On January 28, 2015, the National Assembly passed a bill of modernization and simplification of rights by attributing to animals the symbolic quality of “living beings gifted with feelings”. “Animal rights” is henceforth a curriculum proposed in some universities.

According to Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s general delegate « It is because of human dignity (and not that of the animal) that man must not inflict unnecessary suffering on animals. Cruelty towards animals is in a manner of speaking inhumane. Thus the link needs to be established between the responsibility of man regarding creation, the superiority of man on animals and the particularity of human dignity.