Richard D. Ryder - Animal Rights Advocacy - Speciesism


Further information: Speciesism

He first used the term "speciesism" in a privately printed leaflet by the same name, which he distributed in Oxford in 1970 in protest against animal experimentation – he wrote that he thought of the word while lying in the bath in the Old Manor House in Sunningwell, Oxfordshire. Paul Waldau writes that Ryder used the term in the pamphlet to address experiments on animals that he regarded as illogical, and which, he argued, a fully informed moral agent would challenge. Ryder was also addressing the general attitude that excluded all nonhumans from the protections offered to humans, now known as the anti-speciesism critique. Waldau writes that this original definition of the term – in effect, human-speciesism – has been extended by others to refer to the assignment of value to any being on the basis of species membership alone, so that, for example, prioritizing the value of chimpanzees over other animals (human-chimpanzee speciesism) might be seen as similarly illogical.

Ryder used the term again in his contribution to the Godlovitches/Harris book, in an essay called "Experiments on Animals" (1971). He wrote in the essay that animal researchers seek to have it both ways: they defend the scientific validity of animal experiments on the grounds of the similarity between humans and nonhumans, while defending the morality of it on the grounds of the differences. He argued that speciesism is as illogical as racism, writing that "species" and "race" are both vague terms, and asked: "If, under special conditions, it were one day found possible to cross a professor of biology with an ape, would the offspring be kept in a cage or in a cradle?"

The book was reviewed by Peter Singer in 1973 in The New York Review of Books, in which he argued that it was a call for the foundation of an animal liberation movement. The article led the New York Review to commission a book from Singer, published as Animal Liberation (1975). Singer used the term "speciesism" in the book, attributing it to Ryder, and included it the title of his fifth chapter – "Man's Dominion ... a short history of speciesism." Writing that it was not an attractive word, he defined it as "a prejudice or attitude of bias in favour of the interests of members of one's own species and against those of members of other species," and argued that it was a prejudice similar to racism and sexism:

Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allows the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.

Singer's use of the term popularized it, and in 1985 it became an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, described as "discrimination against ... animal species by human beings, based on an assumption of mankind's superiority."

Read more about this topic:  Richard D. Ryder, Animal Rights Advocacy

Other articles related to "speciesism":

Roger Yates - Academic Work
... Yates focuses on the social transmission of speciesism, and how and why modern human societies exploit and harm animals ... In 2010, Yates published a paper on "Language, Power and Speciesism" which was critical of the failure, in his view, of the animal protection movement to adequately ... blogs, "On Human-Nonhuman Relations," a sociological exploration of speciesism, and "On Human-Nonhuman Relations Podcasts," and, until 2012, helped administrate ...
In The Media - Films About Speciesism
... The Journey Home (2009) The Cove (2009) The Superior Human? (2012) Speciesism The Movie (2012) ...
Richard D. Ryder - Selected Publications
... Speciesism, privately printed leaflet, Oxford ... Speciesism The Ethics of Vivisection ... Animal Revolution Changing Attitudes Towards Speciesism ...