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Why stop at humans?

Dear Editor,

August 24 is marked around the globe as World Day for the end of Speciesism. Speciesism is an ideology that considers the lives and interests of most animals as insignificant, just because they are of a different group to humans.

Any injustice is intolerable, and is likely to encourage further discrimination. The great writer and theologian C.S. Lewis wrote that it is only sentiment that lets us sacrifice other species for the often-trivial benefits of our own. Moreover, he warned, if we let mere preference based on similarity justify cruelty, then "why stop at humans?" Discrimination based on sameness is at the core of racism, nationalism, and any other form of discrimination that sees the suffering of others treated as less important than our short-term gains.

Just as the dismantling of racism or sexism does not diminish the privileged but rather lifts up everyone, so the end of speciesism will transform our relationships not only with other animals, but with our fellow humans. Because, as Isaac Bashevis Singer said, "as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace."
Desmond Bellamy
Special Projects Coordinator
PETA Australia
PO Box 2352
Byron Bay NSW 2481
0411 577 416