The purpose of this website is to collect and share a variety of resources which address speciesism, the enslavement and exploitation of nonhuman animals, and the commonality of oppression. We seek to represent views from various philosophers, academics, historic figures as well as modern-day activists and present these views in a way that is concise and accessible to the general public.
The parallels between human and nonhuman slavery, discrimination and oppression are not drawn here in order to diminish or demean the human experience, but rather to explore and consider the nature of dominance, exploitation and prejudice across lines of race, sex and species. Like racism and sexism, “speciesism” is a form of discrimination. Coined by philosopher Richard Ryder in 1973, the term “speciesism” refers to the “widely held belief that the human species is inherently superior to other species and so has rights or privileges that are denied to other sentient animals. ‘Speciesism’ can also be used to describe the oppressive behaviour, cruelty, prejudice and discrimination that are associated with such a belief. ”
Comparing various “ism’s” — such as racism and sexism — with speciesism is bound to generate some criticism and discomfort, particularly in those who may have experienced discrimination personally, or whose ancestors suffered because of it. This is understandable, particularly in light of pro-slavery comparisons that were drawn between black people and animals — a comparison which was meant to diminish the humanity of black people and reinforce the notion of white superiority. But as Marjorie Spiegel, author of the ground-breaking work, The Dreaded Comparison notes, “Comparing the suffering of animals to that of blacks (or any other oppressed group) is offensive only to the speciesist.”
Many writers, philosophers and educators have explored the injustice of speciesism and the links between human and animal oppression. On Nonhuman Slavery seeks to collect and share these resources in the hopes of furthering thought on this vital topic.