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Is Speciesism an irrational position?

Going by the definition of if Speciesism involves the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership (from wiki) if I were an atheist and a secularist and I saw nothing inherently morally wrong with speciecism and I saw nothing morally wrong with not being a vegan or vegetarian. (I’m perfectly fine with consuming animal meat) Could this be a rational position for someone of my views to hold?

Or would it be an irrational morally or ethically inconsistent one where I’m biased to an anthropomorphic view of humanity and it’s place in the universe by solely being empathetic to humans in terms of rights whereas with regard to animals, I feel no obligation to not use them as humans have done for food and various other commodities?

Can I argue for human rights as a whole whilst ignoring animal ones as vaguely non-important? Or argue for partial animal’s rights whilst still not being an ethical vegan without being inconsistent in my views?

For example, could I actively tell someone not to abuse a puppy or a kitten while I passively endorse the slaughter of animals for consumption mostly because I’m not willing to be a vegan which I find pedantic and impractical? Why the bias?

Are there any rational secular arguments for having an anthropomorphic view on rights?

And if not, do we ascribe rights to all sentient beings? Plants included? Is such a sentiocentric view of morality practical?

I honestly do hope I’ve made my question or rather the set of queries pertinent to the topic clear. And if not, my apologies since I am most likely not very well versed in the terms and positions of these views enough to sound coherent in them.

Posted: March 31st 2013

George Locke

Non-human animals have moral value, but humans have more. Animals do not plan. Their memories are indistinct. Their concept of self is rudimentary at best. For these reasons, among others, human concerns are more important than the concerns of other animals.

That said, animals do feel pain and fear, and they clearly suffer. Animal suffering is a moral ill, and our way of life produces it in spades. It is not possible to avoid complicity in animal suffering entirely, as large-scale vegetable farming kills many animals, but it is possible to minimize harm. It would seem that eating less meat is a good way to minimize harm.

I eat meat and other animal products, but I feel that it is unethical for me to do so. I am slowly trying to move to a flexitarian diet, but changing one’s habits is difficult. I am complicit in many other evils stemming from abuse of corporate and government power, as well as the general climate of sexism, racism, ablism, etc.

Aim to improve your impact on the world, and don’t worry if you can’t change the world, or your own lifestyle, overnight.

I recommend this podcast as an excellent overview on the subject of vegetarianism, animal rights, etc.

Posted: April 4th 2013

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