An End to Speciesism
By Tracy Reiman
It’s obvious when you think about it: Most conflict stems from the idea of “us vs. them.” Our family vs. theirs. Our country vs. theirs. Our religion vs. theirs. Our species vs. theirs.
In the ranking of species, humans have conveniently put Homo sapiens not only at the top but also in its own category separate from the rest of the animal kingdom—a ranking as inaccurate and arbitrary as declaring that men are more important than women or white people more important than people of color. Is the human race really separate from and above all the animal races? PETA doesn’t think so, and that’s why, in 2020 and beyond, we have our sights set on ending the toxic mindset known as “speciesism” — prejudice or discrimination based on species.
If you’ve ever wondered how someone can be moved to tears by a news story about an abused dog yet think nothing of eating a bucket of chicken wings that caused multiple birds to suffer and die, that’s speciesism.
It’s speciesist to convince ourselves that we have the “right” to experiment on animals in laboratories because it might help humans. It’s speciesist to tell ourselves that it’s OK to eat ice cream made from cow’s milk because our desire for the dessert outweighs a mother cow’s need to care for her calf. That it’s OK to steal sheep’s wool for sweaters and scarves and to deny orcas their freedom for our “entertainment.”
It may be convenient for humans to ignore animals’ interests, but it’s not right. Animals aren’t objects for us to use; they’re individuals, just like us. When we look into an animal’s eyes, there’s someone—not something—looking back at us. Someone who feels hunger, thirst, pain, fear, joy and love and who makes decisions, has preferences, overcomes challenges and uses language (even though we may not be able to understand it).
Anyone who has carefully observed animals knows this is true. Think of the clever sheep in the U.K. who learned that they could cross hoof-proof cattle grids by lying on their sides or backs and simply rolling over them. Their reward was tasty flowers and vegetables in neighboring gardens. Think of the octopuses who — though colorblind themselves — can, within a split second, elude capture by “becoming” part of the sandy ocean floor or the pearlfish who use oyster shells as speakers to help amplify the volume of their communications. Think of the elephants who mourn their dead, the female orcas who stay with their families for life, the puffins who use sticks to scratch their backs and the rats who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to save others.
These other animals aren’t just like us: They are us.
So how do we end speciesism in our own lives? We can start by valuing other animals as individuals, not for the ways they can be exploited. And then we must act, by rejecting anything that causes harm to other living beings. It can be as simple as choosing personal care and household products that aren’t tested on animals; leaving animal-derived foods off our plates; buying sustainable vegan clothing instead of items made from wool, leather, reptile skin or feathers; shunning SeaWorld, roadside zoos and other facilities that imprison animals for entertainment; and always referring to animals as “he” or “she” instead of “it” (the same pronoun you’d use for a sofa or table).
PETA’s vision for 2020 is that we all break free of our prejudices and see ourselves in everyone else — animals included. Are you ready? Visit PETA.org to find out how you can end speciesism in your own life.
MAIN SOUTH: ART SHOW AT THE AURORA
Creative Hub Worcester takes over Aurora Apartments Gallery Space
🖌️Who: Local non-profit organization Creative Hub Worcester, and this project is made possible by the support of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and The Community Builders
🖌️What: Creative Hub Worcester @ The Aurora Gallery proudly presents our first submission-based
exhibition, and opening reception, called “The Feeling of Otherness.” This is the first of four shows
which will take place in the course of four months, beginning in January, in the Aurora Apartments’
first floor gallery space.
Why: For Creative Hub, this exhibition series is part of a community-focused initiative that aims to celebrate and promote the work of local artists, specifically focusing on the voices of those who may be silenced or underrepresented. The Aurora Apartments first floor gallery, previously occupied by
Arts Worcester, deserves to continue its legacy as a premier exhibition space. Our January
exhibition, “The Feeling of Otherness,” aims to engage artists around the topics of prejudice,
discrimination, racism, and marginalized communities.”
🖌️Who Should Attend: The entire community is invited to come enjoy these exhibitions.
🖌️State and city leaders, Managers and Local Officials are invited to attend the opening receptions to support our local artists and learn more about Creative Hub Worcester’s current programs and initiatives.
When: Our January exhibit, “The Feeling of Otherness,” will kick off with an opening reception on Saturday, January 25 from 4:30pm-7:30pm.
The current exhibition schedule for 2020 is as follows:
January: “The Feeling of Otherness” Dates: January 24 – February 13th
February: “Main South Residents” Dates: February 15th – March 7th
March: “Multi-Theological Perspectives” Dates: March 9th – March 31st
April: “Female Artists, Female Empowerment” Dates: April 4th – April 22nd
😊Where: This exhibition series will take place at the Aurora Gallery on the first floor at 660 Main St., Worcester, MA, 01610. Free parking will be available at the lot on the corner of Main St. and Ionic Ave., and the first floor where the exhibitions will be held is fully accessible.
Creative Hub Worcester’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible opportunities in the Arts for all Worcester area community members, with a focus on at-risk and under-served youth.
Please contact email@example.com
“Cupid’s Trick” by Elliott Smith: