Digest of terms

speciesism

the view that humans discriminate against non-human animals, and that such discrimination is unjust in a manner analogous to the injustice of racism or sexism. Recognition should be accorded to animal rights on the ground, for example, that they, like humans, have an important interest in not being hurt or harmed, and this interest ought to be similarly protected. The term has gained wide currency in the animal liberation movement. It challenges the anthropocentric assumption that human beings matter more than all other living beings - a view traditionally associated with Christian and Muslim theologies in which humans are accorded special status as creatures uniquely endowed with souls. Areas in which it is claimed that there is strongest evidence of the interests and rights of animals being abused are: hunting, factory farming, and laboratory testing (including for purposes of medical research). Meat-eating is also a target, in this case the vegetarianism advocated coinciding with religious teachings found in Buddhist and in Jain ethics in particular. In response to more extreme claims on behalf of animal rights, the view now quite widely held is that the interests of humans and animals overlap in various ways and to varying degrees, and they should all be weighed together in forming relevant moral judgments.

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