As we continue to recognize the fifteenth anniversary of the original publication of The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, let us consider the plight of the voiceless victims of speciesism. But how can we consider their plight if we don’t know the exact nature of their oppression? Hence the need for a handy reference work that can enlighten (or is it better to say “encolor?”) us on this matter.
speciesism. Oppression (e.g., slaughtering, eating, etc.) of nonhuman animals by the dominant species in the belief that the dominant way of doing things is the superior way. As an antidote to speciesism, veal was removed from the menu of the Vassar Student Union.
Apparently speciesism is grounded in the philosophy or attitude known as
speciesistic dualism. The insistence that the differences between human and nonhuman animals are more important than the similarities, and that, therefore, nonhumans must be confined to a category utterly distinct from our own. As Dr. Neal D. Barnard, president of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, points out, this sort of “good vs. bad, us vs. them” thinking “leads to the use of preferences (e.g., rat vs. baby) rather than morally relevant criteria as a basis for ethical decisions.”
In case you want to get a copy of the original text in which Dr. Barnard made that statement to frame it for display in your living room, it was on page 51 of his article titled, “The Psychology of Abuse,” in the June 1991 edition of The Animals’ Agenda. You can try contacting the periodical’s publisher through its web edition.