Speciesism by Joan Dunayer

jdI knew Joan Dunayer had many fans, as I often heard her works recommended on websites, Facebook and Twitter. My “Books to Read” list is very long and, while her books were on the list, they did not make it to the top until I finally received a review copy of the subject book. As soon as I began reading her excellent work, I understood why her fans wanted everyone to read her books. Speciesism is so easy to absorb, filled with fascinating information about other animals, and so accessible to most all readers that it should be one every activist as well as every non-vegan would read at some point.

Old Speciesists, New Speciesists, and Anti-Speciesist Philosophies

Ms. Dunayer first defines the term speciesism and looks at its various manifestations. At the root is the attitude of human supremacy and the denial of the individual rights or respect for the individual beings that are not human. Old Speciesism, those who advocate for human supremacy, is separated fromNew Speciesism, wherein some advocates are proposing rights for only select animals, usually those more similar to humans. What Dunayer advocates, however, is much more. She is asking for moral consideration for all sentient individuals. She advocates for the invertebrates, the crustaceans, the birds, the mammals, without prejudice, and suggests that if we err, it should be on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion.

Joan Dunayer Asks for a New Paradigm for Animals

Dunayer asks for abolitionist bans, boycotts, vegan advocacy, rights advocacy and campaigns against speciesism. Speciesists often consider other animals only as categories (gorillasbirds, fish) while seeing only humans as individuals. ”To varying degrees, all animal species overlap physically and mentally. At the same time, each animal is unique.” * Anyone familiar with her other book, Animal Equality: Language and Liberation, is aware of the signifcant contribution Ms. Dunayer has made towards heightening awareness of speciesism in language.  Her background in literature, education, and psychology has made her well-suited for writing this sensitive and respectful book. Strongly recommended.

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