By Martin Cisneros
Speciesism is the PREJUDICE [against/at the expense of] animals that makes the either conscious or unconscious assumption that BECAUSE animals are different from human beings that, that of itself justifies the oppression and exploitation of animals for pleasure, profit, convenience, or --worst of all-- "Christian" liberties.
While some people would like to say that speciesism enters into the issues of whether or not animals are equal with humans, speciesism does not ultimately depend on that. What constitutes speciesism is very simply the assumption that the joys, pains, pleasures, needs, and concerns of animals for themselves, their families, and their habitat are less valid than those of humans, and therefore, less worthy of being equally protected by human society. Speciesism dictates that because animal needs, concerns, pains, and pleasures are less valid than human needs, concerns, pains, and pleasures, then humans have the right to trample on animals' rights to their own pleasure and profit. Speciesism necessitates that no middle ground be sought where humans and animals can peacefully co-exist on this planet, but that the human ego be satiated at the expense of animals, whether that's by exploiting animals for their flesh, skins, furs, and bodily fluids, or for research, entertainment, or other means of personally improving human beings at the expense of animals.
Animals throughout history have futily shown the desire to protect themselves, their families, and their habitats from human intrusion and have desperately tried to plead for mercy from humans bent on their slaughter. On this one issue of all suffering being equally painful to animals as to humans, animals in their own right have suffered as much as human women ever have, and indeed, a great deal moreso. Animals have been powerless, 9 times out of 10, from doing anything about their own slavery just as the Native American and the African have been powerless before their "White" oppressors in generations past.
Whether animals be viewed as equals with humans, as "children" compared to human adults, or as those entrusted to us by God as separate from and even far below human dignity; whatever the individual view a person may have of animals in relation to humans: the time has come to grant animals the rights to equal protection and consideration under the laws of the countries we live in, of our various religious systems, and of what's culturally acceptable among humans! It's time to stop making animals political and religious prisoners!