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See also: species-ism


Alternative forms[edit]


Coined by British animal rights advocate Richard D. Ryder in 1970 from species +‎ -ism.


  • IPA(key): /ˈspiːʃiːˌzɪzəm/, /ˈspiːsiːˌzɪzəm/


speciesism (uncountable)

  1. (philosophy, ethics) An ethical stance that assigns different worth or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership, such as assigning greater rights to human beings than to other animals. [from 1970]
    • 1996 [1986], Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., →ISBN:
      Such is the breathtaking speciesism of our Christian-inspired attitudes, the abortion of a single human zygote (most of them are destined to be spontaneously aborted anyway) can arouse more moral solicitude and righteous indignation than the vivisection of any number of intelligent adult chimpanzees
    • 2013, John Huss, Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike, Open Court, →ISBN, page 84:
      This human chauvinism is one form of a general type of discrimination known as speciesism. What is speciesism? Think of racism. The term “speciesism” has been strategically used by animal rights activists from the 1970s onward precisely []
    • 2017, Richard D. Ryder, Speciesism, Painism and Happiness: A Morality for the Twenty-First Century, Andrews UK Limited, →ISBN:
      Sometimes speciesism is also used to describe a positive rather than a negative attitude as when dolphins are alleged to have rescued humans from danger while ignoring other species in peril.

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