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Speciesism and arguments against speciesism


It is often argued that in order to deserve respect from other humans, one must be a member of the human species.1 In other cases, religious or metaphysical reasons are given for why only humans should be respected and nonhuman animals disregarded. According to such views, humans have a special quality or circumstance that makes them more deserving. Examples of such claims are that... Read more

Sheep looks through the bars of cage

In the world in which we live there is much discrimination, of many different types. Discrimination occurs when someone is given less moral consideration than others or treated worse than others for an unjustified reason.1 There is discrimination against certain human beings based on their sex, skin color, sexual preference, and for many other reasons.   Discrimination is... Read more

Wonderpus octopus on sandy bottom

The question of whether or not we should favor the interests of humans over those of nonhuman animals is at the core of animal ethics. The view that we should favor human interests has been criticized as speciesist. You can find more information about this in our section on speciesism. The claim that we should favor humans over other animals, and thus treat nonhumans... Read more

Black horse walks in field with her child

As the section on arguments against speciesism shows, there are different ways disregard for nonhuman animals has been defended. One way is by claiming that we don’t have to fully respect nonhuman animals because they don’t have certain capacities. These capacities are typically intellectual, or intellectually related, such as the use of a language and the capacity to have... Read more


There are people who argue that in order to be fully respected one must belong to the human species. In addition, those who reject the full moral consideration of nonhuman animals sometimes maintain an environmentalist viewpoint that values something different than the wellbeing of individuals, such as the preservation of particular ecosystems or species. The argument from... Read more

Dozens of chickens stacked on top of each other in small cages

The argument from impartiality states that speciesism is incompatible with fairness. It can be presented against any kind of position that maintains that it’s justified to treat nonhuman animals worse than human beings. According to the argument from impartiality, maintaining such a position is a form of discrimination.1 The argument shows that the following three ideas cannot... Read more

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