Our relationship with animals is based on an ingrained – and misguided – sense of superiority that gives us license to exploit them. By observing the actions of adults, we are taught at a young age that animals exist to serve our needs and desires, not their own, and we are conditioned to regard them as objects — to be consumed with a fork, worn on our backs, viewed in a zoo or used in some other way. It’s called speciesism.
Activists around the world are beginning to use speciesism as a theme for provocative protests in order to jolt people into rethinking our relationship with animals.
In Germany, 24 activists wearing matching jumpsuits and holding the bodies of deceased animals recently staged a somber and powerful ceremony to educate the public about speciesism. In a chilling and inspiring video documenting the event, the narrator says, “Speciesism makes us believe that animals are worth less than humans. We are here to ask why.”
In New York City, Collectively Free recently stunned Whole Foods shoppers by staging an in-store protest during which farm animals slaughtered three humans dressed in flesh-colored costumes and distributed free samples of their “humanely-raised, free range” meat. Not everyone who observed this dramatic performance will reflect on what they saw, but some will.
In 2013, filmmaker Mark Devries made made a critically-acclaimed documentary called Speciesism: The Movie. In the film, Animal Liberation author Peter Singer says, “The fact that animals are not human isn’t a reason to give less consideration to their interests.”