Princeton Professor of Bioethics and noted author of over 25 books You can save livesThe The best you can do And animal liberationPeter Singer joins Elisabeth Alfano on The Plantbased Business Hour to discuss her new book, Animal release now.
In particular, they discuss,
Speciesism: What is it and how can adopting it change society?
- Have we progressed in the 50 years since its publication? animal liberation?
- Do animals have rights, should they be considered equal or should they be considered at all? What will determine the answer to the ethical question?
- How did Charles Darwin help shape our understanding of animal rights and animals?
- His predictions for shifting global food supply systems away from animals.
Below is a short clip and transcript of their conversation. Here is the podcast.
Elizabeth: It is with great emotion and pleasure that I bring the author animal liberation. It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary, and so much so that my co-author Peter Singer is releasing its next edition today. animal liberation And it is called Animal liberation now And it’s out today May 23rd. Peter, thank you for being with me.
I mentioned a term earlier and maybe we should go back and define it for people. I mentioned speciesism and I was wondering if you could share with us what exactly that is.
Peter Singer: Yes, of course. Speciesism is a term that was actually coined by someone I know at Oxford, Richard Ryder, and I popularized it. animal liberation Which is to draw an analogy between the other “isms” we’ve talked about, I think we’ve transcended, at least in terms of our moral recognition even if we don’t transcend them in practice. Racism and sexism would be big examples. Few people would now openly say, “Yes, I am a racist. I think it’s okay to be racist.”
So, what is racism? Racism is the domination by a race of other races over which the dominant race has power and then using that power to its own advantage to exploit the races over which it is dominant. Most obviously, of course, in terms of slavery and European domination of Africans. And then it develops an ideology to justify it, because we’re talking about cognitive dissonance with animals right now, and how you feel if you know you’re going to eat an animal with deep emotions and the ability to live a good life.
Likewise, if you enslaved a person who was really like you, who was going to be captured and taken away from family and transported across the Atlantic in horrible conditions and made to suffer as a slave, you would feel bad if you thought you were doing that. . That goes for someone just like you. So, you develop the ideology that they are inferior, they are different, or maybe God gave us the right to do this. This was also part of the belief of slavery. They found passages in the Bible that they thought justified their enslaving other nations.
The point about speciesism is that it is called a similar phenomenon. It’s a dominant group exploiting another group and developing an ideology, sometimes religiously based because people quote the verse in the Bible that says God gave us authority over animals and they interpret it as if it means God doesn’t care what we animals do. I do We can do whatever we like with God’s creation. This is sometimes based on pseudoscientific claims about how they are inferior to us in various areas and that they don’t experience things the way we do.
This is analogous to saying that we are not really entitled to treat animals as objects of our beneficence. We exist on this planet alongside other species, other sentient beings. They are not given to us for any special purpose and therefore we should treat them as we would treat animals of our species with our emotions, feelings and their capacity to suffer and we should not discount it or ignore their suffering and their suffering. . Capacity for well-being is only because they are not members of our species. This is the essence of rejecting speciesism.
Elizabeth: And I think it’s something anyone who’s ever had a dog or a cat can easily relate to. You can see the sensory range of these animals and you can see the cognitive dissonance between legally saying I wouldn’t do that to my dog but legally it’s okay to do that to a cow.
Pigs, as many know, are much smarter than dogs. They sing of their youth. Chickens can remember a hundred faces and a hundred names. I don’t even remember a hundred names. Chickens can do this so you can see the animal’s emotional and cognitive abilities.
Elysabeth Alfano is CEO of VegTech™ Invest, a VegTech™ plant-based innovation and climate ETF, advisor to EATV. He is the founder of Plant Driven Consulting and the host of Plant Based Business Hour.