My inaugural post! Let’s tackle a big one right off the top 😉
We are a funny speciesist lot, us humans. We arbitrarily decide to value one species over another, even one individual over another. That saddens and fascinates me all at the same time. I am always curious to understand why people draw their lines of love where they do. I question and adjust my own lines all the time!
A perfect example of this lately is the public outcry at the tragic roundup and killing of dolphins in Japan. The dolphins are either killed to be eaten or captured and sold into slavery to entertain and/or swim with people. It has sparked an outrage in many many people. Thankfully!!
I have been observing some attempts to highlight the speciesism at work at the public’s reaction. Things like pointing out that while we get so upset over the dolphins being treated this way virtually countless chickens, cows and pigs are massacred every single day. Many of whom are to be eaten by the very people outraged over the dolphins.
At first I am heartened by these attempts, my first thoughts being “Great! This needs to be pointed out! People need to make that connection!”
But quickly that hope is dashed and replaced with alarm and worry. It’s a backfire waiting to happen! At least in the attempts I have seen.
I see a HUGE gap in the message; a gap that actually causes the message to turn back on itself and discount it. Yikes!
I want to help bridge that gap.
The message taken away is “You have no right to get upset about the dolphins, while all manner of other atrocities are happening to countless other animals all over the globe. Especially if you contribute to any of it.”
By pointing out the speciesism in this way, someone can easily conclude that they are wrong to care about ANY species. They may just accept it because it is done to other species. So not only does that get them to back off of their compassion and concern for the dolphins, it does nothing to heal the species divide, for anyone. It could very well widen it.
“Yes, is outrageous what’s happening to the dolphins! It is good you are upset about it and want it to be stopped. What can you do in your life to stop such awful things from happening? Have you considered that it is equally horrible what happens to other animals? Could you extend that same level of care and concern to other species who are being exploited all around the world? All other species have their special qualities and deserve to live a life free of human exploitation.”
Start the conversation. Ask questions that will help spark people to ask themselves “Hey yeah. Why is it that I love the dolphins (or seals, or cats or dogs) so much but am willing to just accept so many other atrocities inflicted upon others?”
Let’s not make people wrong for loving a particular species. Instead, use that as a springboard to close the gap for others! When a person can illuminate the species divide within their own thinking and actions themselves, they can start the process of dissolving it and making a different choice.
What shift can you make today?
I invite people to share their insights – has there been any spark of illumination for you? Or what questions are you asking yourself?