Mo Karn – Speciesisms – J. Drabinski – Feb. 5, 2007

Reading Responses- Initial Rough Notes

-Comparison of human slavery to current practices in treatment of animals.
– Interesting point that in circus’s animals are valued for exhibiting ‘human’ like traits and behaviors.
– imprisoned humans often work as slaves, as do animals in factory farms, both are kept behind walls so we are not daily faced with their oppression.
-False Dualism
– Some, such as the welfare mother are the exploited as well as the exploiter, creating cyclical exploitation.
-Animal liberation and human liberation are one in the same.
-Propaghandi “Oppressive power structures and the institutions and people that control them disenfranchise and exploit vulnerable individuals. The exploited lose their inherent value; they become of value only so far as they are useful to the dominant group. Their right to choice and self-determination are ridiculed, dismissed and subordinated to the wants and whims of the dominators”
– Women, workers, people of color, gays, lesbians, children, animals
-arbitrary ethical boundaries don’t work for the people on the other side.
-What is social justice? Stopping brutality and extending consideration to the inherent value of others.
– I wonder about where the line between being viewed as an object and taking control of your body as your and your to use in anyway you see fit is drawn. In regards to critique’s of PETA’s campaigns that use women’s bodies naked or scantily clad to “sell” the animal rights message, I am conflicted. Yes, culture does tell us that our bodies are objects. But when we take control and consciously use our bodies in ways that we want isn’t it different. This strikes a chord with me because I was a stripper for about a month and a half when I was 18, and I never felt “degraded”. I thought it was ridiculously hilarious that men would pay me for flopping around on stage. I agree with the point that exploitation of women to help animals is not justified, just as exploitation of animals to help humans is not justified- but I wonder if assuming that women using their bodies for a purpose is a bad thing is degrading to women because it assumes that they are always being exploited and are not in control. Does it victimize them unnecessarily? I know that in terms of stripping I feel like a lot of people victimize the stripper unnecessarily. My mom does not know I was a stripper and she often says degrading things about strippers or things full of pity for them, and I have the interesting experience of sitting there disagreeing with her, knowing that my experience was vastly different.
– Once again the question is raised as to whether or not an absolutist approach to politics or a more compromising or gradual approach is better. The issue here being that PETA’s ads that are perceived as exploitative of women, and are often sexist, are used to reach an audience that responds to these sorts of images and ideas. However, PETA perpetuates sexism by their ads. But in reality how else are people in the animal rights movement planning on reaching the segments of the population that are heavily indoctrinated into the crazy culture of our era?
– One theme in the readings I have done so far is the way that speciesism and animal rights issues are intrinsically connected with (all) the other social justice issues. Could one of the main pieces to the philosophy of speciesism just be an emphasis on the interconnectedness of many things. Speciesism is just saying that animals are a necessary part of the other movements.
– In terms of ethics or morals the concept of speciesism is foundationally challenging the tendency to accept the status quo or contemporary norm as morally just. (The Origin of SPeciesism)
-SPeciesism was used to justify racism for a long time, which if nothing else means that speciesism deserves a critical consideration
-Are humans and non-human animals different in morally relevant respects?
-Bare speciesism vs. indirect speciesism (pg 42-43 The Origin of Speciesism)
– There are differences between the species, but mere difference does not justify or explain a different moral treatment.
-This is all about where do you draw the line, and animal rights people are arguing that the line has been drawn for no good reason between human animals and non-human animals, and others arguing that there is some distinction which makes different treatment ok, but there is not much of a defense for this position.
– Concept of species loyalty- biologically natural to favor one’s kin…but does this make it morally justified? Is this just a tendency since not everyone is speciesist? Or family bound? This argument could be extended back into the race issue- do we have tendencies to flock to those who look like us, yes, but this does not justify our prejudicial treatment of those who do not look like us.
-Making the argument for speciesism based on our biological instincts or tendencies ignores our moral codes which prevent rape, racism etc.
– Bare speciesism is indefensible
– Pg 50 of the Origins of Speciesism- if it is good to test on animals because they are similar enough to us to get accurate results, then how can it be argued to be morally justifiable because they are different than us in morally relevant respects- don’t these differences effect the tests??? If the animals are similar enough to us to provide accurate results then how can we justify treating them in ways we would not treat humans.
– On what do claims of equality rest?
– Humans vary in intelligence, virtue, and capacity, and yet according to current moral codes they ought to be treated equally- for instance it is not ethical to harm the mentally handicapped, and though they can not do everything that another human might be able to, their needs are still taken into consideration. So the argument that because animals are not equal or the same in mental capacity to humans it is then morally justifiable to hurt them does not hold water.
-Equality is a moral ideal, not a simple assertion of fact.
– Fucking lifeboat example- puppy or child choice. False dichotomy

Weintraub, Jonathon. “Connections” (3 Pages)

Propaghandi. “Animals are not Biological Machines” (1 page)

Dominick, Brian. “Radical Veganism” Critical Mess Media, 1997. (4 pages)

Adams, Carol J. “Do Feminists Need to Liberate Animals, Too?” On The Issues Dialogue, Spring 1995. (6 pages)

Anonymous. “Gender and the Animal Rights Movement” (9 pages)

Anonymous. “Sexism in the Movement” No Compromise, Issue 15. (1 page)

Mathews, Helen. “Reproductive Autonomy: Crossing the Species Border” Satya. (3 pages)

Miller, Meredith. “Working Class Vegan”(2 pages).

Weissman, Adam. “Cruelty-free Retail: Can we Shop Our way to nimal Liberation?” Satya, (3 pages)

“Animal Liberation Through Trade Unions?” No Compromise, Issue 15. (1 page).

Jones, Pattrice. “Get Real Facing Reality and Crafting Strategies Accordingly”. August 16, 2003 United Poultry Concerns Forum. Boulder, CO. (13 pages)

Hamanaka, Sheila. “Racism and the Animal Rights Movement”.Satya. (6 pages)

Laws, Rita. “Returning to the Corn: American Indians and Vegetarianism”. Vegetarian Journal, Sept/Oct 1994. (4 pages)

Jaffe, Naomi. “Can Humans and Animals be Allies?” August 23, 2005, (1 page)

“An interview with Kristin Candour and Tashee Meadows, Founders of Justice for All Species” by 2003. (4 pages).

“Aids, Queers, and Animal Rights” Tatchell Talks 24, Rainbow Network, 7 August 2001. (2 pages)

Jones, Pattrice. “Of Brides and Bridges: Linking Feminist, Queer, and Animal Liberation Movements” Satya. (6 pages).

Rabbix. “Animal and Earth Liberation: Unite and Fight” No Compromise, Issue 6. (2 pages)

Motavalli, Jim. “So You’re an Environmentalist; Why Are You Still Eating Meat?” Alternet, January 3, 2002. (7 pages)

Not from

LaFollette, Hugh and Shanks, Niall. “The Origin of Speciesism” Philosophy, 71 1996. (41-61).

Steinbock, Bonnie. “Speciesism and the Idea of Equality” Philosophy, val. 53, no. 204 (April 1978): 247- 256.