Sunday, 31 May 2015

Speciesism and racism

English: Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Fo...
English: Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Forum event on MIT's campus on Saturday, March 14, 2009. Veritas Forum: http://www.veritas.org/ Photo by Joel Travis Sage: http://www.joelsage.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The doyen of utilitarian philosophers, Peter Singer, of Princeton University explains in an interview in the New York Times  that while racism still exists, most people are aware that they are wrong. However, this is far from being the case with animals.

Although it is true, of course, that we have not overcome racism, sexism or discrimination against people with disabilities, there is at least widespread acceptance that such discrimination is wrong, and there are laws that seek to prevent it. With speciesism, we are very far from reaching that point. If we were to compare attitudes about speciesism today with past racist attitudes, we would have to say that we are back in the days in which the slave trade was still legal, although under challenge by some enlightened voices.
Christians should be much more aware of their impact of their food use in this universe. We should be much more aware what we are doing in nature or causing to animals and plants by our choice of food.
one might argue that to kill a normal human being who wants to go on living is more seriously wrong than killing a nonhuman animal. Whether this claim is or is not sound, it is not speciesist. But given that some human beings – most obviously, those with profound intellectual impairment – lack this capacity, or have it to a lower degree than some nonhuman animals, it would be speciesist to claim that it is always more seriously wrong to kill a member of the species Homo sapiens than it is to kill a nonhuman animal.