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speciesismSpeziesismus (ger.)

  • Discrimination against or exploitation of certain animal species by human beings, based on an assumption of mankind’s superiority. (OED 1986)

    Discriminations on ground of race, although most universally condoned two centuries ago, is now widely condemned. Similarly, it may come to pass that enlightened minds may one day abhor “speciesism” as much as they now detest “racism”.

    Ryder, R.D. (1971). Experiments on animals. In: Godlovitch, S., Godlovitch, R. & Harris, J. (eds.). Animals, Men and Morals. An Enquiry into the Maltreatment of Non-Humans, 41-82: 81.


    [Why should it be seriously wrong to kill an unborn member of the species Homo sapiens but not seriously wrong to kill an unborn kitten? Difference in species is not per se a morally relevant difference.

    Tooley, M. (1972). Abortion and infanticide. Philosophy and Public Affairs 2, 37-65: 51.]


    Richard Ryder, one of the contributors to Animals, Men and Morals, uses the term “speciesism” to describe the belief that we are entitled to treat members of other species in a way in which it would be wrong to treat members of our own species. The term is not euphonious, but it neatly makes the analogy with racism.

    Singer, P. (1973). Animal liberation. New York Review of Books (5 April 1973), 17-21.


    I use the word ‘speciesism’ to describe the widespread discrimination that is practised by man against other species. […] Speciesism and racism both overlook or underestimate the similarities between the discriminator and those discriminated against.

    Ryder, R.D. (1975). Victims of Science: 16.

Graft, D. (1997). Speciesism. In: Chadwick, R., Callahan, D. & Singer, P. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, vol. 4, 191-204.

Denkhaus, R. (2010). „Speziesismus“. Zu den Hintergründen einer folgenreichen Begriffsprägung. In: Dabrock, P., Denkhaus, R. & Schaede, S. (eds.). Gattung Mensch. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven, 171-206.