Project Pitch: Speciesism

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My project will aim to explore BCM310’s week four topic the animal and more specifically one of the mentioned themes- speciesism.  ‘Speciesism’ is a term that relates to a moral superiority that puts human interests above some or all nonhuman animals, assigning a hierarchy to animals in relation to their value (ARA, 2017). In my project I aim to further investigate this meaning and question our moral status, as humans. In support I will examine ongoing issues that help define the term ‘speciesism’ including whaling, shark finning and poaching. The welfare of animals is something I care very much about about and is the main reason why I have decided to conduct this project. My aim is to enlighten people about the severity of these issues and the role humans have within them. With the amount of research that will be conducted, I believe the best way to present my findings would be through a research essay that will also be shared on my blog. This format also has the added benefit of allowing me to work on my writing skills.

A useful source that can be applied to my essay is an article titled Speciesism and the Idea of Equality by Bonnie Steinbock. The philosopher explores how humans justify themselves in the killing, confinement and experimentation of animals. She re-examines the distinctions in which we have assumed a moral difference. This document also references another philosopher Peter Singer who termed the word ‘Speciesism’. He also published a journal titled Speciesism of Moral Status that holds extreme importance in regards to the topic. Both are relevant sources that aim to bring a new understanding of the idea of equality. While the demand for human equality is high, as the interest for all human beings are considered equal (unless morally justifiable) animal equality is disregarded. It also draws on the idea of ‘animal cruelty’. When an animal is tortured for no specific reason it will be deemed as morally wrong, however when there are large profits to be made humans are said to consider the situation not specifically an act of cruelty. “The topic of cruelty to animals, while important from a practical viewpoint, because much of our present treatment of animals involves the infliction of suffering for no good reason, is not very interesting philosophically. What is philosophically interesting is whether we are justified in having different standards of necessity for human suffering and for animal suffering.” (Bonnie Steinbock, pp.251) These two sources thoroughly investigate the idea behind the term ‘speciesism’. From them I will draw my argument out and then move on to my examples including whaling, shark finning and poaching.

Another source of inspiration for this project came from an online article titled ‘12 endangered animals that people still eat.’ Uploaded on the website Web Ecoist, this document listed animals from all over the world that face extinction. This list included: gorillas, chimpanzees, fin whales, African forest elephants, green sea turtles, river dolphins and sharks. These animal’s lives are sacrificed for expensive, unique and completely unnecessary dishes. Reading this article questioned the exact moral status that us, as humans, hold. The thoughts that came from this online document helped me shape the argument I wanted to convey in my research essay. It shared with me the severity of the ongoing issues and possible animal extinctions that come from the way we degrade animals.

I hope to explore these ideas further throughout my research essay. I aim to enlighten readers about the issues that surrounds the term ‘speciesism’ proving that it is a relevant problem that hopefully one day we can all come to understand and work towards fixing.

My timeline:

WEEK ACTIVITY
Week 10 Research topic further, find sources,

analyse sources

Week 11 Further research, compare analysis of each source, determine my argument and evidence supporting my statement, start essay
Week 12 Write research essay draft and reference
Week 13 Finalise, proof read and submit research essay

Reference:

Animal rights advocates, 2017, ‘What is speciesism?’, ARA, webpage, viewed 27th March 2017
< http://ara.org.au/animal-rights/what-is-speciesism/>

Steinbock, B, 1978, ‘Speciesism and the idea of equality’, Philosophy, vol. 53, no. 204, pp. 247-256

Singer, P, 2009, ‘Speciesism and moral status’, Metaphilosophy, vol. 40, no. 3-4, pp. 567-581

Ecoist, 2009, ’12 endangered animals that people still eat’, Momtastic, viewed 27th March 2017
< http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/04/09/12-endangered-animals-that-people-still-eat/>

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